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House of horrors is no more!

14 June 2018 in Community safety and Housing
One of the worst examples of a dangerous slum, ever uncovered  by Newham Council, has been transformed thanks to new owners and Newham’s Private Housing and  Environmental Health Team.
​Once dubbed by the national press “the house of horrors” the property in Fourth Avenue, Manor Park,  was first inspected in March 2016. Council officers were appalled by what they found.

The three bedroom property was let out to a family with two young children for £700 a month.

In the kitchen inspectors found a three cornered bath being used as a sink to wash up, there was exposed electrical wiring throughout the property, walls were stripped back to the brick work and there were missing ceilings in upstairs bedrooms.

Chimney breasts in the downstairs rooms where the family were living had been roughly removed, but no reinforcing steel work had been erected to make the structure safe. A fridge freezer used by the young family was discovered in a filthy and dangerous back yard, along with the property’s only toilet.

The whole property was riddled with chronic damp, and the staircase and most of the floor boards were rotten and dangerous.

The council issued a prohibition notice to the landlord, banning anyone from living inside the house until it was made safe. But in June of the same year a follow up inspection found the property was again being rented out, this time to a young man.

The threat of being found guilty of serious breaches of the law – and the persistence of the Private Housing and  Environmental Health Team – persuaded the rogue owner of the property to sell up.

Today the property is completely unrecognisable. Arranged over three storeys, there are four bedrooms, a modern attractive kitchen has replaced the bizarre and filthy “bath sink”, the walls and ceiling have been made good, and there are two modern bathrooms. The prohibition order was lifted following an environmental health inspection, and the new owner has employed a professional agent to manage the property, which has been give a licence to operate as an House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) providing decent housing for up to 10 people.

Councillor John Gray, cabinet member for housing, said: “This was one of the most  shocking and appalling cases of a rogue landlord exploiting desperate and vulnerable people we have ever seen in the borough.

“The property was a death trap, and a blight on the whole street, posing a serious hazard not only to the tenants but also to neighbours.”

“Through hard work and persistence the property licensing team has restored this property to decent much needed accommodation. It underlines the crucial importance of private property licensing and has seen a criminal landlord driven out of business.”