25 Nov 2019

Landlord Jack Collins of Woodlea Road, Yeadon, has been hit with court fines for a fourth time for failing to properly manage his rental properties. On 18 November 2019, Mr Collins was found guilty and ordered to pay £25,324.60 within two months for failing to maintain a property on Sefton Terrace, Beeston.

Mr Collins had denied exposing vulnerable tenants to sub-standard housing conditions over a prolonged period of time including defective fire doors and a broken fire alarm, exposed electrical cables, rotten windows, no heating or hot water for a six month period during which one tenant was left without washing facilities.

Mr Collins had been prosecuted for offences at the same property on 12/2/2018 and had to pay £8,655 including fines and costs. On that occasion it was for failing to comply with improvement notices served by the local authority to ensure safety of tenants.

In addition, Mr Collins had been fined on two other occasions 10/1/2018 and 3/5/2019 for poor conditions in his Beeston properties.

Over the four prosecutions (a period of 22 months) Mr Collins has incurred fines and costs totalling £59,217 initiated by the council.

Mr Collins’ property is located in one of the two recently designated Selective Licensing areas which are part of an initiative to improve the standard of rented homes in parts of Beeston and Harehills. From 6 January 2020 any person renting out a property in these areas will need to have applied to the council for a licence. Landlords who fail to have made an application by this date will face formal action including a fine or civil penalty. Find out more at www.leeds.gov.uk/selectivelicensing.

Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said:

“It was unacceptable to expect vulnerable people at this property in Beeston to live day to day in appalling conditions, resulting in considerable distress for the tenants, due to the behaviour of this landlord.

“Landlords have a responsibility in law, and to their tenants, to ensure that they adhere to and comply fully with the housing regulations including proper and timely management. In this particular case, like previous occasions, this landlord fell considerably short of the standard expected, which is why we pursued this action through the courts that resulted in the court ordering him to pay over £20k.

“The safety of our residents remains our top priority and I want to send out the clear message that we will seek to use a range of enforcement tools if, as in this case, legislation has been disregarded by a landlord and a resident is living in a property that is substandard.

“Of course, we would rather not have to pursue this course of action and that is why we are looking to raise housing rental standards in parts of Beeston and Harehills by introducing Selective Licensing schemes in January 2020. I’d like to encourage all private landlords in these areas to make sure they have completed a licence application and paid the first part of the fee by 6 January 2020.”

More information about housing standards and the Selective Licence scheme can be found at www.leeds.gov.uk/selectivelicensing.

This post is based on a press release issued by Leeds City Council

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