Tenants living inside a cramped property in Leyton were lucky not to have been harmed by a potentially fatal fire, which started due to the landlord’s inadequate safety precautions.
The blaze at Ruckholt Road, E10 was started by an electrical fault. The landlord, who was prosecuted earlier this week, claimed that the property comprised two self-contained flats each occupied by one family.
However inspectors found that there were a total of 14 people were living there.
He was fined a penalty of £7092.34 including costs on 7 October for breach of licence. The Thames Magistrates Court judge said that landlord Mr Fai Lee had been extremely lucky that nobody had died due to his negligence.
Mr Lee owns around 30 addresses in Waltham Forest which are all now subject to audit checks following the poor state of this property.
It was found to be badly converted with insufficient fire precautions, which meant the blaze could not be contained.
London Fire Brigade Borough Commander for Waltham Forest, Jamie Jenkins said: “The sentence handed down to Mr Lee is a stark reminder to landlords that the courts take fire safety as seriously as we do and that the penalties for ignoring it are severe.”
The council introduced a Private Rented Property Licensing scheme in 2015 to drive up property standards and reduce anti-social behaviour across the borough.
The scheme allows the council to identify all addresses owned by a single landlord, so they can all be inspected if issues are identified at one of their properties.
Since February 2016 the Council has successfully prosecuted 40 private landlords operating in the borough for issues related to licensing.
All privately rented homes in the borough require a licence, unless an exemption applies. A licence costs £650 for a period of up to five years. For more information see www.walthamforest.gov.uk/PRPL.
Landlords can find more information about making properties fire safe and well-maintained by visiting: www.london-fire.gov.uk/RentingAndSharing.asp.