Landlord prosecuted for serious safety failings

A Leeds landlord faces a hefty bill for allowing a tenant to live with a catalogue of defects and faulty installations needing repair in a privately rented property.

David John Coates failed to appear before magistrates on Friday 4 October but was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £1,200.

The case came to light when Coates’ Gledhow Mount tenant complained to the council’s housing regulation team that he refused to make repairs.

Coates ignored the authority’s requests to investigate the issues so the council stepped in to conduct its own inspection.

Officers were disturbed to find evidence of serious neglect including a gas fire which had been condemned and a rotten, draughty and insecure front door which was falling out of the surrounding brickwork, with the surrounding gaps stuffed with plastic bags to prevent drafts, that were making the living room very cold and expensive to heat.

Dampness in the living room and bedrooms were made worse as blocked gutters allowed water to run down the walls and enter the house. Of even more concern to officers were the inadequate fire precautions which would effectively trap anyone on the upper floors if there was a fire.

Officers also found old electrical installations that had no evidence of servicing or essential maintenance making them potentially dangerous and no handrails on the steep, hard wood stairs to prevent falls.

Coates was served with improvement notices for the safety breaches but failed to acknowledge his responsibility for the condition of the property.

The council had to step in again when Coates attempted to evict the tenant but followed the incorrect legal procedure.

Having entirely failed to make the required improvements, Coates was prosecuted.

Councillor Peter Gruen, executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services, said:

“It’s simply not acceptable for landlords to leave tenants in properties that are cold, damp, insecure and downright unsafe.

“Tenants should not have to put up with such poor living conditions but we can and will intervene when landlords neglect their responsibilities.

“We’ll continue to take action against landlords who consistently fail to improve standards and ignore tenant safety.”


For media enquiries, please contact;

Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk