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£162,000 fine after 18 tenants crammed into central London flat

The landlord of an overcrowded flat which lacked proper fire precautions and had a dangerous boiler has been fined £162,000.

Abbas Rasul was also ordered to pay costs of £3,498 by Hammersmith magistrates court after being found guilty of failing to license a House in Multiple Occupation along with 22 further charges under HMO management regulations.

Rasul and two companies of which he is a director - Grosvenor Property Investments Ltd and London Victoria Estates Ltd - were charged after environmental health officers from Kensington and Chelsea council inspected a flat at Hyde Park Gate last November. 

The property was one of three flats in a Grade II listed building and, in the words of the council, had been “poorly converted.” Officers found that Rasul’s flat was being let to more than 18 tenants having been subdivided into small units using flimsy plasterboard partitions to create 14 ‘rooms’.

The tenants were from a variety of backgrounds and occupations and were paying an average rent of £800 per month.

There were no fire doors, smoke detectors or alarms in the overcrowded flat which had one kitchen shared by all the tenants. The gas boiler had not been serviced and had a cracked flue which was dangerous. Due to the way the flat had been subdivided some rooms had no electric light fittings in the ceiling which led to extension leads and trailing wires running through the property.

Conditions witnessed posed such a risk to safety that environmental health officers issued a Prohibition Order to prevent further use of the flat.

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