Rogue landlords challenged in Leeds

Leeds City Council, working with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) and other partners across the city, targeted over 70 flats above shops on Harehills Lane as part of a scheme tackling rogue landlords. The multi-agency operation was targetting fire safety, environmental health and standards of accommodation, as well as offering residents and landlords advice and support to ensure accommodation and safety were highlighted.

All shop and flat owners have been written to and the council is currently engaging with over 40 owners who have taken up the invitation to work with the council and its partners. Advice is being given to these owners to ensure their flats comply with legal requirements and where appropriate their businesses below comply with relevant food and health legislation.

Residents in the flats are also being offered a full package of help and advice, which will include fire safety guidance, security checks, benefit checks, and assistance with job and skills opportunities. Landlords and commercial businesses are offered access to free help and advice regarding fire safety by WYFRS and support from the local landlords association.

The multi-agency event took place on the evening of 12th March 2014, targeting all flats and premises where there had been no response to letters issued by the council. Officers from the Police, WYFRS, UK Border Agency and Environmental Health’s Food Team, accompanied Housing Officers on Harehills Lane.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, Planning and Support Services said:

“This has been a great example of teams from across the city and region working together. We want to take robust action where appropriate to prevent individuals and organisations breaking the law and we back this up with the advice and support that helps people do the right thing.”

The operation was delivered by Leeds City Council using government funds earmarked for tackling rogue landlords in the city. £125,000 was awarded by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), following a successful joint bid by Leeds City Council and WYFRS to tackle quality and fire safety issues in flats above shops.

Lisa Toner, Leeds District Prevention manager, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said.

“This event is an example of true partnership working. Prevention and Protection Staff from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service worked alongside colleagues from Leeds City Council having a visible presence in the community in order to make people safer in their own homes and improve the standards of their properties. Collaborative working is at the heart of how we reduce risk within our local communities and this event was a huge success and has had a positive impact for those living in the local area.”

Actions taken as part of this initiative included:

• Access notices were served on over 20 flats above shops. The inspections identified a number of problems with the properties relating to a lack of fire detection, entrapment in the event of a fire, excess cold, electrical hazards and falls. Formal action will now be taken against the landlords to address these issues, which has already resulted in an emergency prohibition order being served on one flats preventing its use due to fire safety.

• WYFRS visited 15 commercial premises to give advice and check on fire safety measures, five of which required follow up action.

• Eight food premises were visited of which two were found to require follow up action by the Environmental Health’s Food Team.

• Fire prevention advice was given to residents in 14 of the flats.

• The UK Border Agency questioned a number of residents and workers about immigration related matters.

Issued by:

Phil Morcom

Communications and Marketing team

Leeds City Council

4th Floor West, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Mobile: 07891 276270

Tel: 0113 224 3602

Fax: 0113 247 4736