A landlord and property company have been fined over £200,000 after putting the lives of their tenants in danger by letting a substandard flat with severe safety hazards.
Jeffrey Hu aka Weijie Hu and company Bewel Property Ltd were fined after two of the properties they let to tenants were found by Westminster council officers to be poorly managed and in a state of disrepair. Both homes were classed as houses in multiple occupation.
One of the properties in question was a a three-storey, four-bedroom town house in Bayswater. It was home to at least six young professionals at the time of the council’s investigation. The council found a myriad of issues with the home, including a dangerous electric cooker hob which had an exposed live electrical cable as well as a charred board underneath. This posed serious risk of electrocution, especially when coupled with the fact that the electric cable had merely been haphazardly joined together with tape.
Another serious concern was the property’s balcony guarding, which was unsafe, rotting and likely to be subject to further deterioration. This posed a serious risk for one of the tenants to fall the 16ft drop from the second floor.
Bewel Property Ltd was charged with three counts of contravening the Housing Act 2004.
The property company was fined £150,000 for the dangerous hob as well as the rotten balcony and exposed electrical cable. Landlord Hu was individually charged and fined £5,000 for the unsafe balcony as well as live electric cable.
Bewel Property Ltd was then fined a further £50,000 for offences relating to a three-storey property in Kensington and Chelsea, which was home to at least six tenants. The property in question posed a serious fire safety hazard, lacking a safe means of escape in the event of a blaze. Hu was also individually fined £2,000 for the property, due to his failture to submit the appropriate gas and fire safety certificates.
Bewel Property Ltd and Hu were also told to pay £6,900 in costs and £340 victim surcharge together.