A landlord company has been hit with a large fine after tenants living at a student property in the city were wilfully left without a gas supply for 11 days.
Planas Properties Ltd were ordered at Leeds Magistrates Court to pay £12,037, including costs and £4,500 compensation to be divided between the nine tenants, after failing to carry out repairs to the gas supply in an appropriate and proper timescale at a home on Regent Park Terrace, Hyde Park.
Due to the reluctance and inaction of the landlord in addressing the issue after concerns were raised, the gas was subsequently cut off by the supplier following safety worries, leaving the nine tenants without heating, hot water and no hob to cook on at the property for nearly two weeks. The court was told that the tenants were also threatened verbally and in writing with eviction by the landlord, which contributed to mental anxiety for the occupants. A number of requests made by Leeds City Council to the landlord that they must take action immediately to have the gas supply reinstated, were also ignored.
Following enforcement action taken by the council, Planas Properties Ltd pleaded guilty at the hearing to the offence of unreasonably causing the gas supply to the HMO to be interrupted, contrary to HMO Management Regulations.
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said:
“To leave nine people living at this property in Hyde Park without a gas supply for 11 days whilst also at the same time threatening them with eviction was completely unacceptable behaviour by this landlord company, and resulted in considerable distress for the tenants.
“Landlords have a responsibility in law and to their tenants to ensure that they adhere to and comply fully with the licensing regulations they are expected to meet when renting out properties. In this particular case they fell well short of the standard expected, which is why we pursued this action through the courts that resulted in the court ordering them to pay over £12k. We have a range of enforcement tools at our disposal, and I want to send out the clear message that we will seek to use them, if as in this case, legislation has been disregarded by a landlord.”