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Landlord Who Put Tenants’ Lives at Risk is Fined £200,000

Landlord Who Put Tenants’ Lives at Risk is Fined £200,000

A landlord who put his tenants’ lives at risk has been handed a record fine.

Jeffrey Hu rented out two properties in the Bayswater and Notting Hill districts of west London which were described by a judge as being in a “pretty dreadful state.” Each was occupied by at least six tenants paying about £1,000 a month each.

Mr Hu and Bewel Property Ltd, of which he was once sole director, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court where he was jointly prosecuted by Westminster City Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Council inspectors found a rotten second-floor balcony at one of the two properties and a dangerous electric cooker hob which had exposed live cable joined with tape that posed a serious risk of electrocution. The other property had inadequate fire exits and no gas or electricity certificates.

The balcony guarding was found to be rotting and was considered likely to further deteriorate, posing a serious risk for tenants who could fall 16ft from the second floor.

Property company was in violation of Housing Act

Bewel Property Ltd was charged with three counts of contravening the Housing Act 2004.

It was fined £150,000 for the dangerous hob and also the rotten balcony and exposed electrical cable, a further £50,000 for offences relating to the three storey property which was home to at least six tenants, and which posed a serious fire safety hazard because it did not have a safe means escape route in the event of a blaze.

Mr Hu was himself charged and fined £5,000 for the unsafe balcony and the live electric cable and also £2,000 owing to his failure to submit necessary fire and gas safety certificates.

The property company and Mr Hu were also ordered to pay £6,900 in costs and £340 victim surcharge together.

Landlord was endangering lives, says judge

District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe told Mr Hu: “This property was in a pretty dreadful state, I wouldn’t stay there and I doubt you would. You were the sole director at the time and when there were previous convictions against the company.”

She went on to say: “These are very serious and the excuses that have been given and the explanation is not satisfactory. You were endangering other people’s lives by having conditions that weren’t satisfactory . . . This has gone on over a lengthy period and has been repeated with your knowledge as you were part of Bewel.”

Record penalty serves as warning to rogue landlords

Westminster councillor Antonia Cox said: “Mr Hu endangered his tenants’ lives through a complete disregard for their health and wellbeing. His tenants paid rent to live in what amounted to a death-trap . . . This case should be a warning to rogue landlords that Westminster City Council will ensure they pay heavily through their pockets for housing people in poor conditions.”

The fine was a record for Westminster City Council.

Cleaning cupboard priced at £225,000

A cleaning cupboard in one of the country’s most exclusive neighbourhoods has gone on the market as a studio flat for £225,000 – equivalent to £1,991 per square foot.

The property on the landing of a block of flats in Kensington in west London measures just 14ft long and 13ft wide but boasts a bathroom, kitchen and lounge/bedroom area.

Contact our personal injury solicitors today for expert advice

If you have been injured through the actions or negligence of a landlord or other individual, you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Call our personal injury and clinical negligence experts in confidence on 01895 207284. Alternatively, email us at PI@ibblaw.co.uk.