Environmental Health Officers in the council’s Health and Housing team found 16 tenants (including 7 children) occupying the ex-council flat at Sheffield Square, Bow. This included three families of four people, one family of three and a single man. Each family occupied one room and all shared a single bathroom, kitchen and toilet. Two of the family rooms barely contained enough room for a bed, leaving little space for the children to play.
Despite very high fire risks arising in the overcrowded flat, no fire precautions had been installed to protect the families and their children. There were no fire doors to the bedrooms and kitchen and no fire detection system.
The court heard that conversion works the landlord had carried were designed to maximise the rental income, while increasing the risks to tenants. Had a fire occurred within the flat, the consequences could have been very serious as occupiers and their children would have found it difficult to escape.
The lease for the flat is owned by the landlord, Mr Bhuiyan of Robinia Close, Ilford.
In sentencing, the court made clear that the fines took into account Mr Bhuiyan’s early guilty plea.
Tower Hamlets Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Sirajul Islam said:
“The council takes the safety of private tenants very seriously, particularly where risks of fire are concerned. Landlords running a business must make themselves aware of all their legal responsibilities. Bad landlords who exploit their tenants and expose them to danger can expect strong action from the council, and if we discover that that laws to protect tenants are being flouted we will investigate and prosecute.”
“Elected members strongly support the work of our Environmental Health Department in licencing rented properties that operate as houses in multiple occupation or lie within our selective licensing area within the Weavers, Spitalfields & Banglatown and Whitechapel area. We are committed to improving privately rented accommodation in the borough, and ensuring that tenants are treated fairly through our Tower Hamlets Private Renter’s Charter.” Information on fire safety advice for landlords and tenants can be found on the fire safety page.
Posted on Wednesday 6th September 2017