A council and the fire service are investigating how a group of migrant workers came to be living in overcrowded flats in East Lancashire.
In one room three workers were sharing two mattresses
The inquiry began after crews were called to a chip pan fire at a flat in the Mill Hill area of Blackburn.
Lancashire Fire Service served a restriction notice on the landlord because of the fire safety fears, limiting tenant numbers in the flat.
Twelve people - all Polish - were sharing a bathroom and some had no bed.
Among the conditions found, they were three people sharing a room that had only two mattresses, investigators said.
One tenant, who did not want to be named, told the BBC: "There are 12 of us living here. We have only one fridge. We have to manage as best we can.
"There is no future for us. If I knew I had to live like this there is no way I would have come here."
Widow Grazzinna Zielinska, who is working to support her children back home, said a job she paying almost eight times her monthly Polish salary had attracted her to the UK.
"In Poland there is no work, it is very hard," she said.
"That is why I came here. I thought it would be a lot different to this."
Hassan Malik, of letting agents Independent Properties, said: "They have been here a few weeks. They were aware of the conditions and were happy."
"Well we [have] got some properties to move them into and hopefully it will be sorted."
The migrants found work through job agency Work Solutions, who put them in touch with the lettings agency.
The job agency said it was not prepared to pass on some of the tenants' rent to the lettings agency until the problems are rectified.