Prohibition Order served after Gurkha veteran found living in cramped and unsafe flat in Charlton

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017 - Royal Borough of Greenwich

A landlord who rented a tiny, sub-standard flat to an elderly couple has been served with a Prohibition Order by the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

The elderly husband, a Gurkha veteran, was living with his wife in very cramped and unsafe conditions in a converted ‘flat’ at the back of the three bedroom semi-detached house in Charlton.

Following a tip-off, Royal Borough officers raided the premises in the early morning of 25 November 2016 together with colleagues from the Metropolitan Police. Colleagues from the Armed Forces Charity SSAFA, who work closely with the Nepalese Gurkha community, were invited to provide interpretation services and advice for the tenants.

During the inspection, the property was found to have damp and mould. A series of serious ‘Category One’ hazards were also documented under the housing health and safety rating system including excess cold and severe safety issues.

The cramped kitchen was the only means of going in and out of the flat, potentially trapping anyone inside in the event of a fire.

Royal Borough of Greenwich housing inspection 2016

The tiny shower and toilet were also very hard to access and were far from satisfactory or appropriate for an elderly couple.

Royal Borough of Greenwich housing inspection 2016

Following the inspection, Royal Borough officers served a Housing Act 2004 Prohibition Order on the owner, who lives in the main part of the house with his family. This means he had to stop the use of the self-contained flat as it was so poorly laid out, undersized and dangerous for its occupants that the only practical approach was to return the house to a single family unit.

The elderly couple were re-homed by the Royal Borough of Greenwich in a new house with the appropriate support and assisted living features.

Councillor Jackie Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety & Environment said:

The Royal Borough of Greenwich is sending a clear message to rogue landlords that renting out properties in unsafe and sub-standard condition is not only morally wrong; it is illegal. We will work closely with partners to ensure that residents, especially elderly residents vulnerable to exploitation, are afforded the appropriate protection and support.

Cases such as this also underpin the importance of having a properly regulated private rented housing sector. I encourage residents to read about our proposals to extend licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), participate in our consultation, and work with us to drive up standards.

To take part in the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s online consultation on extending licensing to all houses in multiple occupation, visit Further information about housing regulation in Greenwich can also be found on our website at