A landlord who crammed 14 tenants into two small flats has been fined after a potentially fatal fire broke out at the property.

Fai Lee, 48, of Palmerstone Road, Buckhurst Hill, owned a property in Ruckholt Road, Leyton, which he claimed consisted of two self-contained flats, each occupied by a single family.

However, after a serious fire caused by an electrical fault in a kitchen, officers from Waltham Forest council discovered a total of 14 people had been living across the two flats.

Inspections found the property had been poorly converted, with inadequate fire precautions in place.

The building suffered severe fire damage due to this, as the inadequate precautions failed to contain it.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Firefighters said Lee was lucky no one died in the blaze

The local authority took the decision to prosecute Mr Lee, who owns around 30 addresses in Waltham Forest, for failing to adhere to his property licence.

He admitted to the charge at Thames Magistrates Court on Friday, October 7.

Lee was fined £5,000 in and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £2,092.34, a total penalty of £7092.34.

London Fire Brigade Borough Commander for Waltham Forest, Jamie Jenkins said: “Landlords have a responsibility to keep their tenants safe from fire and should never ignore their responsibilities by putting the people living in their properties at risk.

“The landlord in this case is extremely fortunate that this case did not lead to a loss of life.

“All landlords must make sure there are adequate escape routes in the property that’s being rented out.

“Depending on the size of the property, they may also have to fit smoke alarms and provide fire extinguishers.”

All of Lee’s properties in Waltham Forest have been subjected to audit checks following the fire. As a result of the conviction all of Mr Lee’s property licences will now also be reviewed.