A Tower Hamlets landlord has been prosecuted and fined for the appalling condition of one of his properties.
Environmental health officers from Tower Hamlets took Liakath Ali of Bedford to court for not complying with notices relating to fire safety, lack of natural light and overcrowding in a property on Moody Street, E1.
The house was seriously overcrowded with seven people living there, Thames Magistrates’ court heard earlier this month.
A house is deemed to be overcrowded if any two people of the opposite sex are required to share a room, with the exception of a couple or if one is a child under ten.
Overcrowding is a serious problem in Tower Hamlets and the authority was found to have one of the highest levels of it in the country in the 2011 census.
The council has been tackling the problem through its ‘Overcrowding Reduction Strategy’ in an attempt to get the problem under control. Overcrowding can catalyse other problems such as pest infestation and poor health.
Campbell Robb, head of housing and homelessness charity Shelter, said: “Our investigations show just how ruthless a minority of rogue landlords can be. We know there are people operating in cities up and down the country like this and it’s clear this is a national problem.”
According to Robb, there is a hard core of so-called rogue landlords who regularly trigger complaints to local authorities – but a spokesperson for the charity stressed that these are in the extreme minority of landlords.
Ali was given credit for pleading guilty during the hearing, but it was noted that he was a repeat offender and had been aggressive toward council officers.
Rabina Khan, lead councillor for housing at Tower Hamlets, said: “We welcome the court’s decision to penalise landlords who put their tenants’ lives in jeopardy. The council will continue to pursue rogue landlords and protect residents from unsafe practices.”
Mr Ali was told to pay fines and costs of £9,897.