Urban Echo News 

Hefty fine for rogue private landlord who let unsafe house to vulnerable tenants

Leeds – A landlord and his property manager are counting the cost of letting an unsafe house to vulnerable tenants, following a successful prosecution by Leeds City Council.

Property owner Mr Petar Mijakovac and his mother and property manager, Mrs Kosovka Mijakovac of Falkland Rise, Moortown, Leeds were prosecuted for breaching nine ‘House in Multiple Occupation’ management regulations. The pair were fined a total of £9,500 for the breaches at a property on Hilton Road in Chapeltown.

The property, which had been split into flats and housed some vulnerable tenants, including children, came to the attention of Leeds City Council following a complaint from a tenant about living conditions.

During an inspection, by housing enforcement officers in October 2014, it was found that the fire alarm system was not working and there were inadequate precautions in place to prevent the spread of fire. The basement was also full of combustible materials and the routes of escape were obstructed by furniture

Fire precautions in the property were so poor the council had to request West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service install battery operated smoke detectors as a temporary measure.

Other breaches of the regulations included a badly damaged main front entrance door which made it insecure against intruders, defective staircase lighting, waste in the gardens and overcrowding where the defendants had placed a family of five in a one bedroom flat.

The court was told the defendants were experienced landlords who own a large portfolio of around 26 rental properties in Leeds which earn them approximately £94,000 a year in rental income from housing benefit payments alone.

Mrs Mijakovac was also successfully prosecuted by Leeds City Council in 2014 for placing tenants in properties which had been deemed uninhabitable by the council.

Councillor Debra Coupar, executive member responsible for communities said:
“This is the second time in two years we have had to prosecute Mrs Mijakovac for failing to ensure her properties are in a suitable condition for her tenants. It is totally unacceptable to expect families to live in substandard and unsafe conditions, especially when obtaining housing benefit for these properties.

“Our officers are on hand to offer their wealth of experience to keep tenants safe and landlords on the right side of the law. Many landlords are more than happy to work with us to ensure this is the case.

“However, when standards fall below the expected and required level, we will not stand by while people put profit ahead of safety, common sense and the law.”

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