Court brands private landlord’s property a ‘disgrace’
A rogue landlord has been fined twice in the space of two months for failing to provide a suitable standard of living for tenants at two of his rented properties - and is now nearly £14,000 out of pocket.
In the latest case, Jack Collins of Woodlea Road Leeds 19 appeared at Leeds Magistrates Court on 12 February for not undertaking basic safety works at one of his rented properties. Collins pleaded guilty to not complying with Improvement Notices received for a property on Sefton Terrace Leeds 11 and was fined £7,500, ordered to pay costs of £1155 and a £170 victim surcharge.
Mr Collins failed to comply with improvement notices served upon him for four flats and the communal areas at the property, and was found guilty of committing five offences under the Housing Act 2004 Section 30(1).
During an inspection of the property by Leeds City Council’s “Rogue landlord Unit” - part of the Private Sector Housing Team - hazards were found including: inadequate fire safety precautions; excess cold; dampness/mould growth; food safety and; issues with personal hygiene, sanitation and drainage provision. The inspection was undertaken as part of a proactive approach to landlords who persistently fail to maintain their properties to minimum standards for rental purposes.
Despite being issued with an improvement notice Mr Collins failed to undertake any of the works to remove the hazards which were a risk to the health and safety of his tenants, some of whom were vulnerable.
The magistrates stated that the situation was a ‘disgrace’ and they didn’t want to see Mr Collins in court again. Mr Collins who received approximately £100k rental income from housing benefit payments from the council in 2016/2017, failed to employ anybody to undertake works at the property, stating that he preferred to do the work himself.
Councillor Debra Coupar, executive member for communities said:
“Despite receiving significant income from his rental properties this landlord refused to employ a contractor to undertake these necessary improvement works. His inability to comply with the legal notice shows blatant disregard for the welfare of his vulnerable tenants.
“There is a wide range of help and support available for landlords to make sure they understand the rules and regulations that keep both tenants and them safe. However, when standards fall below the expected and required level, we will not stand by while people put profit ahead of the safety and welfare for their tenants.”
In an earlier prosecution, which was heard at Leeds Magistrates Court in January 2018, Collins was also fined £5,121 also for failing to comply with Improvement Notices for hazards relating to: inadequate fire safety precautions; dampness/mould growth; electrical safety, falls on levels and; food safety.