Newham mayor 'sickened' as landlord exposes children to dangerous conditions
Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government
Newham mayor 'sickened' as landlord exposes children to dangerous living conditions
A ruthless landlord has been forced to pay more than £25,500 after Newham Council found children living in an overcrowded, unhygienic and dangerous property.
Belal Salik Choudhury, from Ilford, was found guilty at Thames Magistrates Court of 24 disrepair offences under the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation Regulations 2006 for which he was fined £20,500. He was also fined £5,000 for one offence under the Housing Act 2004. He must also pay £738 court costs and a victim surcharge of £120.
The council prosecuted Choudhury after visiting his rental property on Birchdale Road, Forest Gate, for which he had no licence. Housing officers discovered:
- Seven adults and two children living in the property;
- The tenants were paying the landlord £2,300 in rent each month;
- Communal parts of the property were in poor condition and poorly ventilated. Carpets and walls were dirty and there was condensation and mould growth. The kitchen window was cracked with sharp edges in places and the bathroom window could not be closed;
- Fixtures, fittings and appliances were in poor condition presenting serious health and safety risks. The shower drainage point was blocked with debris. Exposed bulbs were found in the shower room and bathroom which were not working and potentially could allow water ingress. This was a fire hazard;
- No smoke alarms;
- Black mould growth in the bathroom;
- A double socket above the work surface in the kitchen had a grey wire feeding into it which had been joined together along its length with red tape. This was another fire hazard and electric shock risk;
- Two fridges, several buckets, a chair, a bed base and several other household items were strewn across the rear garden.
Requests were also made for the landlord to produce the latest fixed electrical installation test certificate and gas safety certificate. These have still not been received.
Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales said: “I accompanied the housing enforcement team when they first visited this property which was in a disgusting state.
"The tenants were subjected to overcrowded and dangerous conditions that put their health at risk. To subject children to these conditions is particularly sickening. We will not put up with this kind of behaviour from criminal landlords who take advantage of vulnerable people.
"We will continue fighting to improve housing conditions for our residents and will take tough action against those landlords who flout the law.”
Councillor Andrew Baikie, executive member for housing and customer service, said; “The conditions here were horrific. The gravity of the offences has been rightly reflected in the size of the fine handed out, which is the largest seen by Newham Council in a housing prosecution of this kind.
"This case demonstrates the necessity of our private sector licensing scheme which has been a great success. It is helping us tackle poor standards and focus our enforcement action on the small number of criminal landlords who refuse to comply with the regulations.”
Following the introduction of Newham’s successful property licensing scheme in 2013, landlords must apply for a licence for every property they rent out in the borough.