Landlord fined over £200,000 for endangering lives of tenants

A landlord who endangered the lives of his tenants has been successfully prosecuted and fined more than £200,000 for failing to comply with HMO regulations at Westminster Magistrates Court.

Jeffrey Hu aka Weijie Hu, from Hallfield Estate, and company Bewel Property Ltd were successfully prosecuted by Westminster City Council and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and fined after being found to have inadequately managed two properties, which were described by council officers as being in a “pretty dreadful state”.

One of the properties, a three-storey, four-bedroom town house in Tenniel Close, Bayswater, was home to at least six young professionals during the council’s investigation, and yet 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.

Officers 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.

“I wouldn’t stay there and I doubt you would,” said district Judge Roscoe, during sentencing.

The other property, a three-storey property in Edenham Way, Kensington and Chelsea, which was home to at least six tenants, was found to lack a safe means of escape in the event of a fire and a failure to supply gas and electrical certificates.

Cllr Antonia Cox, cabinet member public protection and licensing, said: “Mr Hu endangered his tenants’ lives through a complete disregard for their health and wellbeing. His tenants paid rent to live in what amounted to a death-trap.

“This case should be a warning to rogue landlords that Westminster City Council will ensure they pay heavily through their pockets for housing people in poor conditions.”

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