In what has been described as the "worst example of overcrowding" authorities have ever seen, a London family was busted for forcing 40 adults to live in one four-bedroom house together.
According to Metro, the Shah family rented out their property through an agent named Jaydipkumar Valand who then crammed 40 Indian migrants and poor London residents into the house.
Unsurprisingly, this made for very poor living conditions, including blocked fire exits, tenants living in bunk beds, and the kitchen becoming so unusable that they had to have food delivered.
The property was rented for £6,000 per month (or about $8,500). It was divided into seven bedrooms on the bottom floor and two on the upper level. There were five people to each room, and the house had only two bathrooms.
The Shah family, which consisted of 53-year-old Harsha Shah, 27-year-old Chandni Shah, and 54-year-old Sanjay Shah, all face having to pay back the £360,000 (about $509,330) they collected from tenants of this illegal and unsanitary slum house.
Harrow Crown Court found that the family had a license to rent to one family, but not for a house of multiple occupants. Additionally, the Shahs are facing scrutiny for not managing the property's upkeep as there were large holes in the ceiling along with the unusable kitchen.
Valand and the Shah family were initially convicted last May, but Sanjay Shah attempted to have his conviction overturned by the High Court. He was unsuccessful.
“All were charged with failing to have a license and failing to comply with regulations and failing to have a house of multiple occupancy license,” said Edmund Robb on behalf of Brent Borough Council.
“It is unlawful to continue to receive the rent when you are not complying with the conditions of a selective license which says you can only rent it to one family of seven people,” Robb added. “If they had complied with the regulations the money would not have come into their hands.”
A confiscation hearing to determine if the money they received must be returned is set to take place at a later time.
In addition to being utterly disgusting, this living situation was also incredibly dangerous. If a natural disaster, or a fire, or any type of life-threatening scenario had occurred, it's likely that many of those tenants would have faced a tragic demise as emergency exits were nonexistent, and the home, itself, was so cluttered with beds and belongings.
A similar living style is what led to the tragic Ghost Ship warehouse fire that occurred in Oakland, California, in 2016. The building was not up to code yet had several people living in it and was being used as an event and party space, bringing even more people into the hazardous situation.
Nearly 40 concert-goers died in the horrific blaze sparked by electrical issues. There were inadequate emergency exits as well, hindering people from making it out of the building alive as the fire spread.
Needless to say, the Shahs are incredibly lucky nothing like this occurred on their overcrowded property or they would have much more to worry about than potentially paying back the rent they unlawfully collected.
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