A businessman has been fined for housing tenants in appalling conditions without windows, hot water or fire safety measures at his premises.
49-year-old Mehmet Gurcuoglu, director of Golden Motors on Andre Street in Hackney Downs (pictured), used a dilapidated outbuilding at the railway arch car wash and tyre workshop where tyres were stored up to the ceiling next to beds and blocked escape routes.
He admitted operating an HMO without a licence and to five breaches of management regulations and was fined £8,992 at Thames Magistrates Court.
The court heard that as well as being flammable, the tyres would have filled the escape route with toxic gases if they had caught fire, while the one battery operated smoke alarm had been covered up with plastic sheeting.
Council officers joined police on a raid of the property in 2019 where they discovered four people living, probably with a young child.
Councillor Sem Moema, mayoral adviser for private renting and housing affordability (pictured), described it as one of the most atrocious cases officers in the borough had ever seen.
She says: “While this is an extreme example of criminal behaviour, it’s also a symptom of the wider housing shortage and a poorly regulated private rented sector that encourages landlords to let out poor quality homes at often extortionate rents.
“Our crackdown shows that we’ll take whatever action we can to tackle those who don’t play by the rules while we continue our campaign for better renting and a fairer system for tenants.”
Earlier this year, rogue landlords who illegally let a Clapton property without providing proper washing facilities or tackling serious fire hazards were fined £22,000 after a Hackney Council prosecution.