A MOVE to stop some of Hyndburn's poorest tenants including immigrant workers being ripped off has been backed by the council.
Hyndburn Council is looking to introduce a scheme forcing landlords who rent out large houses to many people to register for a licence in a bid to ensure their properties are up to scratch.
Councillors say the move has been made to stop landlords exploiting poor people, including workers from abroad, by charging them huge rents for poor-quality housing.
Council leader Peter Britcliffe said: "Some of these poor workers could be the next generation of cockle pickers at Morecambe Bay and this is a national scandal.
"Something must be done to protect these people."
The scheme applies to landlords who have houses with three or more floors, let to five or more tenants who belong to two or more households.
Landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) will be required to get a licence which will cost around £500 and be valid for up to three years.
Those failing to comply with the order before 3 July could face fines of up to £20,000.
Labour group leader Councillor David Myles said: "We do need greater restrictions to stop people being charged rents of £300 a week for a property with a rentable value of just £80."
Councillor Malcolm Pritchard added: "Some of these properties are in a terrible state, not fit for human habitation.
"I hope something can be done about these housing grot-spots."
Landlords can get more information on mandatory HMO licensing at www.propertylicence.gov.uk .