A Croydon landlord was fined £9,400 and placed on a London List of Rogue Landlords after council inspectors found his former bank vault property had Category 1 fire safety hazards and was unfit to live in.
Anthony Roy Roe, 54, from Tilehurst, was convicted at Croydon Magistrates’ Court last month for housing offences.
He let out the converted Barclays bank vault despite the lack of ventilation and an adequate fire escape route.
He had rented out the flat to a lone tenant, who first contacted council officers about the unsafe outdoor stairs which were missing steps in 2019.
On visiting the flat, inspectors also found Category 1 hazards, which would have left the tenant in serious or immediate risk of health and safety, relating to fire safety, lighting and excess heat.
The basement flat had a lack of natural light as there were no windows in the bedroom or living room and no ventilation.
‘Potentially lethal firetrap’
Councillor Jane Avis, the cabinet member for homes, said: “This flat wasn’t just an unsuitable place to live; it was an illegal and potentially lethal firetrap, so I’m glad the tenant flagged her concerns to us.”
The council classed the flat “unfit to live in” using powers under the Housing Act and issued a prohibition order.
However, Roe broke this order when it was discovered that the flat was still being rented out after his appeal in August 2019.
The council began court proceedings against Roe for breaking the prohibition order and not having a license.
Emergency accommodation was found for the tenant and financial support was also given to help her find a privately rented place of her own.
Croydon introduced a landlord licensing scheme in 2015 to raise housing standards in the private rented sector.
This scheme expired last autumn and the council has applied to renew it.
Councillor Avis said: “We set up our selective licensing scheme in Croydon so private tenants could have safe and good-quality homes, and this prosecution underlines why we’ve asked the government for permission to renew it.”
Roe was ordered to pay a £2,640 fine for breaking the prohibition order, the council’s full costs of £6,624, and a £170 victim surcharge.