Camden Council discovers cockroaches and bed bugs at the Happyvale Hotel

The Georgian facade of the Happyvale Hotel would have given passers-by little clue as to what lurked behind its blue-painted doorway.

The Georgian facade of the Happyvale Hotel would have given passers-by little clue as to what lurked behind its blue-painted doorway.

Cockroaches and mice droppings were discovered in the Mornington Crescent property in March last year after a Camden Council investigation.

Officials also found cockroaches in plug holes and even next to a new-born baby and its food, a source said.

The council’s assistant director of regeneration and planning, Ed Watson, said that Happyvale Hotel had failed “even the most basic standards of hygiene” and had become a health hazard.


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The hotel charges �20 a night for a single and �30 for a double.

Owner Stephen Gethin, 60, who also lives at the hotel overlooking a park, was fined �4,980 on January 17 at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court.

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He pleaded guilty to 13 different charges, from failing to provide fire escapes between floors, to problems with the drains and allowing rooms to become overcrowded in the four-storey bedsit off Hampstead Road.

Mr Watson explained after the sentencing why the council launched the prosecution.

“This property was found to be in an extremely dangerous condition and did not comply with even the most basic standards of hygiene and safety – putting the residents at risk,” he said.

“The council will always seek the toughest penalties against those who ignore their responsibilities.

“This should act as a warning to others that we will ensure that they comply with the law.”

Gethin originally pleaded not guilty to 32 separate charges on October 6.

Council solicitors dropped 19 charges against the landlord through a lack of evidence and Gethin changed his plea to guilty for the remaining 13 charges.

These included failing to provide toilets with sinks, faults with the fire alarm system and the carpet falling into poor condition.

Gethin admitted he had been forced to call on pest control services to deal with a cockroach problem and said he had fumigated a room to get rid of bed bugs on one occasion.

He told the Ham&High: “The problem has more or less gone. We’re not absolutely there and there are still some sightings (of cockroaches) now and again.”

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