Rogue Leeds landlord banned from letting houses after five convictions for poor upkeep of properties

A rogue landlord from Leeds has been banned from letting out properties following a tribunal hearing.

By Richard Beecham
Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 4:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 5:14 pm

A statement, published on the Government's website following the conclusion of the tribunal said that Jack Collins, who at the time of the hearing owned five rental properties around Leeds, has been convicted five times for failing to make his houses safe and liveable for tenants.

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Collins had argued to the judge that his ill health made it more difficult for him to manage his properties and a succession of "poor tenants" caused damage to the houses.

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Collins had previously gone before Leeds Magistrates Court.

Despite his pleas, the judge hearing the case ruled that Collins was unsuitable to be renting out houses.

He has since been added to a national database of rogue landlords and banned from renting properties for the next five years.

The tribunal statement outlined how Collins owned five properties in Sefton Terrace, Hardy Street, Crosby Road, Hillside Avenue and Greenshaw Terrace, which were all let to residential tenants.

He previously owned a further four houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs), all of which have been sold since 2019.

Collins was prosecuted at magistrates' court back in 2019, for failing to ensure one of his former HMOs in Sefton Terrace was in a liveable condition. Among the offences were failures to ensure fire alarms were in working order, that the house was in good repair, and to provide gas and electricity safety certificates.

Another court case heard earlier this year that Collins had failed to carry out repairs that left his tenant and her two children for over three months with a leaking roof, dangerous electrics and rotten window frames where the glass was about to fall out.

Leeds City Council then pursued a banning order to stop Collins from renting out properties altogether.

Documents released as part of the tribunal stated: "(The council says the offences) are serious and have the potential to undermine its work to ensure that rented housing within its locality are safe and suitable. In addition, the application is made because the council considers that Mr Collins has been given multiple opportunities to comply with the law but has nevertheless failed to do so.

"The council considers that there is little evidence to suggest that Mr Collins has learned from the events described above, or that he will not commit similar offences again if he is allowed to continue letting housing."

The notice added that Collins had served "three evidential bundles", which included witness statements, photographs of repairs and evidence of his own injuries.

Outlining Collins's arguments, it stated: "He started as a landlord in 1989 and has built up his housing stock over a period of time, being a good landlord without convictions until 2016.

"The condition of the properties that feature in the cases of failure to comply with improvement notices and offences pursuant to management regulations have been exaggerated and that his properties have suffered substantial damage making his task as landlord more difficult."

It added that his former housing manager had taken on "some poor tenants", while Collins has had "four heart attacks".

Collins told the hearing that he intended to sell all his remaining stock and retire from property letting. He also challenged the council's claim he had been housing "vulnerable persons and not then taking action to ensure their safety".

In making its decision, the tribunal stated: "We note that Mr Collins is 71 years of age and of poor health, but at the same time he does not want to instruct contractors to carry out work for him on his housing stock.

"The tribunal determines that his age and poor health is even more reason for him to instruct contractors to carry out all remedial works within the time limits allowed in the various improvement notices.

"We note that Mr Collins has suffered injury and that some of his properties have suffered damage and we accept that this will have increased the workload that he, as a landlord, has had to carry out at a time when his ability to work is reducing.

"However, Mr Collins has received significant income as a landlord for many years and he knows full well that he has responsibilities to his tenants that in the opinion of the Tribunal he has not been satisfying throughout the period covered by this case.

"We note that Mr Collins complains that the area in which his housing is situated has worsened in recent years due to an approved red light area being established, that the area is economically depressed and that there is a high crime rate.

"These factors do not affect our decision as to whether or not to make a banning order. They are simply facts about the area in which the housing is situated."

Making the decision, Judge C P Tonge ordered that Collins would be banned from letting houses in England, engaging in English letting agency work and engaging in English property management work for five years.

Failure to comply with the order could lead up to 51 weeks imprisonment and a fine of up to £30,000.