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“Dangerous house” shut down by Newham Council

A “dangerous and dilapidated” three-bedroom house rented to a family with two young children has been closed down by Newham Council. 

The council’s private rented sector licensing team visited the property last month and found evidence of it being partially gutted for renovation works while still being rented out for £700 a month to a couple with two children living on the ground floor.

During the inspection of the property in Manor Park officers found hot water from a bath in the tiny kitchen being used to clean crockery in the kitchen sink, exposed electrical wiring, walls stripped back the brick work and missing ceilings in unoccupied upstairs bedrooms.

They also found chimney breasts removed in rooms occupied by the family downstairs, but no supporting steels had been put in place and a fridge freezer in use in the back garden.

The council issued a prohibition notice to the landlord, banning anyone from living inside the house until it is made safe.

Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, said: “This was truly a house of horrors. It was unsanitary and unsafe. The ceilings could have collapsed at any time, the wiring could have sparked a fire, but this landlord saw no problem putting this young couple and their children in grave danger and charging them for it.

“Without our licensing scheme we may not have come across this family and been able to take them out of harm’s way. And now this landlord will pay for his negligence.”

Newham Council’s data warehouse, which uses information from across council services and from outside agencies, helped the team to identify this property as being rented out. The landlord who did not have a licence will now be prosecuted under the Housing Act 2004 for failing to have a licence and for poor management of the property. If he allows anyone to live in the property before it is declared safe by the council’s building control team he could also face prosecution with an unlimited fine.

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