Two landlords have been fined over £100,000 after 35 people were found living in what a judge called “criminally improper conditions.”
Arun Bajaj and Antonio Ferraiuolo let three small two-bedroom flats in a converted semi-detached Victorian home in the London borough of Islington.
The council was alerted by concerned neighbours and an Environmental Health team found the building had no working fire alarm system, room partitions that were not fire resistant, and fire risks including dangerous electrics.
The tenants - who did not have formal tenancy agreements and paid rent in cash - slept six to a room in bunk beds.
The smallest bedrooms were around 50 square foot - smaller than the recommended size for a prison cell according to the council.
The landlords then moved the tenants to other nearby properties which were also found to have large numbers of defects.
Bajaj, from Coventry, was found guilty of 15 offences in relation to the management of two properties.
Co-defendant Ferraiuolo, from North London, was found guilty of 35 offences in relation to the letting of one property and management of two others.
At a sentencing hearing at Reading Crown Court, Bajaj was fined £100,000; Ferraiuolo was fined £10,500. In addition, Bajaj was ordered to pay £20,000 costs.
The judge described Ferraiuolo as “calculatedly criminal” and said he placed the occupants of the properties “in very serious danger and criminally improper conditions”.
A spokesman for Islington council says: “This case shows that, where landlords and managers put their tenants at risk and provide substandard conditions, they will be held to account by the council and by the courts.”