Happyvale Hotel in North London has been dubbed Britain’s worst hotel.
The hotel was originally opened 80 years ago as a bed and breakfast establishment, but standards have really dropped since those halcyon days. A report has identified that it is infested with cockroaches, mice and sewage leaks galore. It is one of many accommodations that was being used for vulnerable people or those living on benefits which led to a full investigation by the local council. The hotel was even featured on a recently aired Panorama documentary entitled ‘The Great Housing Benefit Scandal’ which is a shocking view of many people’s poor quality living arrangements and how their landlords gain wealth from working the welfare benefit system, to their advantage.
After running the condemned Happyvale hotel for some thirty years owner Stephen Gethin faced fines of £20,000 with 15 health and safety offences and he has been told he can no longer run the hotel with the five storey town house being declared unfit for business. Gethin earnt about £130,000 annually from benefits paid to him.
Camden council’s cabinet member for housing Julian Fulbrook said “It should be renamed the Unhappy Vale Hotel, it’s really quite grim. It fails on all the standards and regulations which is why the judge, having considered all the evidence, has come to a view that Mr Gethin is unfit to run it. That’s very rare. I think it’s very possibly the worst hotel in Britain.”
Gethin admitted 13 other charges ranging from failing to provide fire escapes between floors to problems with drains and allowing rooms to become overcrowded. Gethin was reprimanded into court and officials also found cockroaches in plugholes near to a newborn baby at the hotel, which acts as a hostel for homeless and vulnerable people.
In the twenty first century you wouldn’t expect people to be living in such an ugly place but then again, should we be surprised, when people put profit ahead of people.