No let-up in war on ‘mayhem’ of rogue Leeds landlords

Coun Peter Gruen
Coun Peter Gruen
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Housing bosses have vowed to step up their war on Leeds landlords who let out dangerous and squalid properties.

Inspectors of rented houses have found problems at dozens of homes this year, from inadequate smoke alarms to overcrowding, substandard heating and electrical hazards.

Leeds City Council has brought 176 successful court cases against landlords over licensing and housing issues since 2006.

Now council chiefs are warning dodgy owners they won’t get away with causing “mayhem” for tenants across the city.

In the last year, using £125,000 in government money, 245 flats above shops in Armley, Beeston and Harehills were inspected as part of a rogue landlord scheme.

Inspectors found problems in 59 cases, including inadequate smoke alarms, overcrowding and potential fall risks.

Coun Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive member for neighbourhoods, said: “We have been targeting rogue landlords for some years, but it’s more systematic now than it used to be.

“People who are part of a regulated, accredited system are good landlords, but the ones who are not can cause absolute mayhem for their tenants.

“They are taking money and don’t do the basic improvements, don’t adhere to the basic responsibilities on health and safety, don’t do repairs.

“It’s a pretty grotty way of behaving.”

In the first six months of 2014, the council received more than 1,200 requests for investigations of tenanted properties and carried out more than 800 inspections.

Inspectors removed 538 hazards and issued 193 enforcement notices, ordering improvements to be made.

In July, two landlords were fined £8,000 each for operating homes of multiple occupation without the proper licences in Hyde Park and Headingley.

Last month a landlord who let dangerously substandard flats to families in Harehills was ordered to pay £3,500 in fines and court costs.

Coun Gruen added: “We will continue to do everything we can to ensure that people get a fair deal and a safe deal.

“If anything untoward happens because of the neglect of the owners of these properties they will be prosecuted.”