A landlord, who crammed 14 tenants into two small flats, has been fined following a potentially fatal fire that broke out in his property.
Fai Lee claimed that his property in Leyton, near London, consisted of two self-contained flats – each occupied by a single family. However, after a serious fire caused by an electrical fault in a kitchen, council officers discovered that a total of 14 people had been living across the two flats.
They also discovered that the property had been poorly converted, and that the fire precautions in place were inadequate and failed to contain the fire, resulting in severe fire damage to the building.
Mr Lee, who owns around 30 addresses in Waltham Forest, was prosecuted for failing to adhere to his property licence. He was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £2,092 at Thames Magistrates Court on 7 October 2016.
Jamie Jenkins, London Fire Brigade borough commander for Waltham Forest, said: ‘Landlords have a responsibility to keep their tenants safe from fire and should never ignore their responsibilities by putting the people living in their properties at risk. The landlord in this case is extremely fortunate that this case did not lead to a loss of life.
‘All landlords must make sure there are adequate escape routes in the property that’s being rented out. Depending on the size of the property, they may also have to fit smoke alarms and provide fire extinguishers.’
Following the fire, all of Mr Lee’s properties in Waltham Forest have been checked and his property licences will now also be reviewed as a result of the conviction.