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Lettings company fined £200,000 over dangerous properties

A property company and a landlord have been fined over £200,000 after being accused of putting tenants’ lives in danger by letting a flat with a dangerous cooker and rotten balcony.  

Jeffrey Hu aka Weijie Hu and company Bewel Property Ltd were fined after renting out two properties to tenants; both were classed as houses in multiple occupation and were found by Westminster council officers to be poorly managed.

One of the properties, a three-storey, four-bedroom town house in Bayswater, was home to at least six young professionals during the council’s investigation. At the property, council officers found a dangerous electric cooker hob which had exposed live electrical cable and a charred board underneath. The electric cable had been haphazardly joined together with tape, posing a risk of electrocution.

They also found unsafe and rotten bedroom balcony guarding which with further deterioration increased the risk of someone falling, at least 16ft from the second floor.

Bewel Property Ltd was charged with three charges of contravening the Housing Act 2004. 

The company was fined £150,000 for the dangerous hob, rotten balcony and exposed electrical cable. Meanwhile, Hu was individually charged and fined £5,000 for the unsafe balcony and live electric cable.

Bewel Property Ltd was also fined £50,000 for offences committed at a three-storey property in Kensington and Chelsea, which was home to at least six tenants. 

The property lacked a safe means of escape in the event of a fire and a failure to supply gas and electrical certificates. Hu was also individually fined £2,000 for not submitting gas certificates.

All together, the company and Hu also had to pay £6,900 in costs and £340 victim surcharge.

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