A Leeds landlord has been fined for renting out a flat the council and fire service deemed unsafe to live in.
Hari Amedi, of Cross Flatts Grove, had previously pleaded not guilty but failed to appear before magistrates on Monday April 18. Amedi was fined £1,100 in absence and ordered to pay £1,582 costs and a £110 victim surcharge.
Conditions in Amedi’s property, located above a takeaway on Harehills Lane, came to light during a multi-agency operation in March 2014.
The premises were one of 70 being targeted on Harehills Lane after a successful bid with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) for government funding to tackle rogue landlords, with the aim of improving fire safety and standards of accommodation in flats above shops.
Council and WYFRS officers identified significant failings with a serious lack of fire safety measures in the flat that shared access with the fried chicken takeaway downstairs.
The flat also had dangerous electrics, damp and mould, excess cold and poor security measures so an immediate emergency prohibition order was served under the Housing Act 2004.
This meant that Amedi could not let the property until significant fire safety precautions were installed at the flat.
A follow up inspection found that Amedi had re-let the property without installing the required fire safety works, breaching the emergency prohibition order so was prosecuted.
Councillor Debra Coupar, executive member for communities, said: “We expect all privately rented properties to be kept to a safe standard. This is even more important when those properties are based above a business, and particularly when that involves cooking.
“It beggars belief that a landlord would put their tenants at such risk with a total disregard for even basic fire safety.
“Thanks to our proactive approach we’ve been able to take action and prevent a potential tragedy.”
Chris Kemp, fire protection manager for WYFRS, said: “West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service are committed to supporting business and property owners to comply with requirements imposed upon them, however when there is a clear disregard for public safety as is the case here, we have no alternative but to support our partners in taking legal action against those individuals.
“This case is a fine example of the excellent partnership working between Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service that will continue to make our communities safer.”
Funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government’s rogue landlord fund, all owners of shops with living accommodation above them on Harehills Lane were invited to work with the council and fire service in March 2014. An information event was organised to allow property owners, businesses and residents to find out more.
Any owners failing to respond to the council’s call for co-operation were served formal notification that the council would be entering their properties to check them.
The project was also supported by West Yorkshire Police and Home Office Immigration.