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Tower Hamlets party flat closed down by council

A penthouse flat in Commercial Road, E1, which was regularly rented out to groups of loud party goers has been closed down for three months by Tower Hamlets Council.

The parties, at the flat in Whitechapel, were loud and disruptive and often lasted until the early hours of the morning. They took place both prior to and during Covid-19 lockdowns, when it was alleged cash-in-hand was paid to rent the premises.

Residents gave council officers evidence and statements about loud music and noise throughout the night, as well as smoking, drinking and drug-taking, including on communal stairwells, creating a hostile environment for other people living there.

The flat with rooftop garden was rented out to the public, including through the online room-sharing provider Airbnb.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “The irresponsible use of this flat had a hugely detrimental effect on others people living in the block and surrounding area. The parties attracted groups of individuals who had no regard whatsoever for residents. Antisocial behaviour affects people’s lives and wellbeing in very serious ways. We will act when it is reported to us and use the powers we have where short term lets are turning residential properties into what is essentially a hotel.”

Councillor Eve Mc Quillan, Cabinet Member for Planning and Social Inclusion, said: “The closure of this flat is welcome news and demonstrates that the council is willing to take action to protect our residents. Flats in our borough should be homes, not hotels – we’re losing far too many flats to holiday lets, which pushes up rents. I’m pleased we’ve taken action to stop this irresponsible and antisocial behaviour.”

Tower Hamlets Council secured a three-month closure order at Stratford Magistrates Court on 12 May 2021. The order prohibits any person from remaining on or entering the premises other than Council staff, agents and contractors, the emergency services; and the freeholder, who is required to give 48 hours’ notice to the council and is only allowed inside for the purpose of fulfilling any statutory obligation required by the Council.

Council officers, working in partnership with the Police, gathered the necessary intelligence and evidence to support the successful order.  

Failure to comply with the order is a criminal offence which could result in imprisonment of up to three months, a fine, or both.

Posted on Wednesday 9th June 2021