A landlord couple could face jail after admitting a string of offences which led to the death of one of their tenants in a fire.
Sofina Begum, 50, and Aminur Rahman, 53, rented out a dangerously overcrowded two-bedroom flat in Shadwell, east London (pictured), which was occupied by at least 18 men sharing beds and sleeping on the floor, on the night of the blaze in March.
The flat residents, mostly Bangladeshi men who worked locally, had to share a single toilet and reported that the property was ridden with bedbugs, mould and dirt. One said it was “like a prison”, the Guardian reports.
Mizanur Rahman, a 41-year-old father of two, was killed at 18 Maddocks House after an e-bike battery started the fire in the early hours of the morning.
Former residents of the flat paid about £90 a week or £25 a night in rent to the married couple, much of it in cash, meaning they could have taken at least £100,000 a year in rent, The Guardian reports.
The landlords, both of Solander Gardens in Wapping, entered their pleas during a short hearing at Thames Magistrates Court and will be sentenced on 3rd January at Snaresbrook Crown Court when Tower Hamlets Council – which brought the prosecution – can seek a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The property was registered as an HMO in August 2022. Begum, whose name was on the licence, was charged with six offences, including allowing unauthorised people to live at the property, failing to hold a valid gas safety certificate, and being unable to present key documents such as tenancy agreements and deposit arrangements when asked.
Her husband, Rahman, faced three charges, with prosecutor Jonathan Melnick explaining that he was being accused of aiding and abetting his wife.