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Landlord caught renting 'coffin-like' cupboard in London out to tenant as room

Four-bedroom property in Beckton had been fitted with 11 'sleeping spaces', with multiple bunk beds crammed into single rooms

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Friday 03 November 2017 17:37 GMT
The "coffin-like" understairs cupboard was being used as a room in the crowded house in Beckton
The "coffin-like" understairs cupboard was being used as a room in the crowded house in Beckton (Andrew Barker/Newham Council)

A "rogue" landlord has been caught renting a "coffin-like" cupboard to a young man in London as a room.

Inspectors for Newham Council discovered the one-metre by two-metre understairs space in an overcrowded house in Beckton.

The four-bedroom property in East London had been fitted with 11 "sleeping spaces", according to the council, with bunk beds crammed into single rooms.

Officers also uncovered serious fire and electrical safety hazards in the two-storey house, with the gas meter stored in the understairs cupboard.

The desperate conditions were uncovered during an early-morning raid as part of a crackdown on rogue private landlords in the borough.

Three bunk beds were crammed into a small room in one of the properties (Andrew Barker/Newham Council)
Three mattresses were laid side by side in a room in one of the properties (Andrew Barker/Newham Council)

Inspectors also discovered another overcrowded property nearby where three people were each paying £200 a month to share a shed structure.

The rest of the property had been split into eight rooms, over three floors, shared by four families.

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales, who joined the team during the raid, said it was "imperative" the government acted to stop tenants being exploited.

"It cannot be right in the 21st century, in one of the world’s wealthiest cities, a young man is being forced to pay hundreds of pounds to rent a cupboard under the stairs, sleeping alongside the gas meter," he said.

"The scenes we saw on this visit are a timely reminder that, while by tackling bad landlords we are driving up standards, there is still much to do. That is why it’s imperative that the government allow us to continue with this work, and stop the exploitation of tenants."

The council said all the landlords involved would be issued with financial penalty notices, which can be up to £30,000 per offence.

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