Page last updated at 12:41 GMT, Wednesday, 19 November 2008

New centre targets slum landlords

Lord Advocate Eilish Angiolini
The lord advocate opened the new centre on Wednesday

A new law centre has been opened in one of Glasgow's most ethnically diverse areas in a bid to tackle private sector slum landlords and agency gangmasters.

Lord Advocate Eilish Angiolini opened Govanhill Law Centre in the city's south side on Wednesday.

The new facility will aim to "root out discrimination and exploitation" and improve the wellbeing of local people.

It is being funded by the Scottish Government and supported by local agencies, Oxfam and the union Unison.

Govanhill has some of the most severe housing problems in the UK, with an estimated 750 slum flats.

The local population is ethnically mixed and has the biggest concentration of Roma families in Scotland.

Up to 3,000 people from Roma families, mostly Slovakians, are believed to live in the Govanhill area, with many concentrated in just four streets.

'Criminal practices'

The authorities believe many are particularly vulnerable to rogue landlords and organised crime.

Principal solicitor, Mike Dailly, said the new centre would work to earn public trust.

"Together we can root out the slum landlords and the gangmasters," he said.

"Together we can expose the Mr Bigs and their criminal practices.

"It's our community and it's time to claim it back from the unscrupulous private landlords, gangmasters and criminals.

"Our first case will be to instruct one of Scotland's top QCs, Roy Martin, to provide a legal opinion on how compulsory purchase legislation can be used to eradicate substandard private rented accommodation in Govanhill."

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SEE ALSO
Council ban for 'rogue landlord'
12 Sep 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
'Gangmaster' has licence revoked
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Gangmaster laws come into force
02 Oct 06 |  South of Scotland
Police launch 'gangmaster' raids
06 Oct 04 |  Scotland

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