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Husband and wife must pay £8,000 after 17 beds found in bungalow to let

A husband and wife must pay joint fines, penalties and costs totalling over £8,000 after complaints about a bungalow they owned and let.

Magistrates in Bexley, south London, found Abul and Ashram Azad guilty of contravening a Notice of Over-Crowding and a Prohibition Order served on them for a property they own and let in Erith.

The court heard that the property had attracted a number of complaints about over-crowding, noise and the generation or rubbish since 2014.

When a fire broke out at the bungalow in September 2016 and a tenant had to jump from a first floor window to escape the fire – and was uninjured – it was reported to Bexley council as a possible house of multiple occupation by the London Fire Brigade.

A Notice of Over-Crowding had already been issued on the property following an inspection when the bungalow was found to be housing 17 beds – including on both sides of the roof space.

At the time Abul Azad was provided with a schedule setting out the maximum number of eight people allowed in the whole of the property. The council also advised Azad not to re-let the property without notifying the authority first.

Following the fire, council officers visited the property on 30 September 2016 and found four people living there, despite extensive damage caused by the fire, making the staircase unsafe and the house uninhabitable.

As a result, a Prohibition Order was served to prevent the property being used for sleeping and living accommodation. Azad did not appeal the Prohibition Order and he agreed that he would not re-let the property again until all necessary remedial works had been carried out.

Despite this, when an unannounced visit was made by council officers in April 2017, they found it occupied by nine people, allegedly from one family.

A further inspection was made on 5 April 2018. This time council officers found 15 bed spaces; three of these were in the living room and included a double mattress under the stair case.

The majority of works required by the Prohibition Order had not been completed.

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