Leeds City Council has been awarded £125,000 by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) to tackle rogue landlords in the city.
This follows a successful joint bid by Leeds City Council and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (WYFS) to support the delivery of a project that will tackle quality and fire safety issues specifically in flats above shops. As part of this scheme, over 200 commercial premises with residential accommodation in the city will be targeted to ensure they meet the required standard for all occupiers and where appropriate comply with relevant food and health legislation.
All residents will be offered a full package of help and advice, which will include fire safety guidance, security checks, benefit checks, and assistance with job and skills opportunities. Landlords and commercial businesses will also be offered access to free help and advice regarding fire safety by WYFS and support from the local landlords association.
The council works proactively with landlords and their associations to improve standards through the Leeds landlords Accreditation Scheme which has seen an increase in both membership and bed numbers covered by the initiative.
Despite this positive engagement, the council has still had to serve over 1000 enforcement notices on over 350 properties to secure improvements to both property and management standards within the private rented sector. Unfortunately not all landlords have complied with their responsibilities, which have resulted in the council securing 15 prosecutions against those unwilling to fulfil their legal duties to their tenants.
Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, planning support services said:
“We undertake a lot of work to ensure we tackle rogue landlords within the city, and have had a number of successful prosecutions throughout the last 12 months.
“We want to ensure all our residents are protected and live safely in quality homes across the city, and this money will go towards specifically tackling quality and safety in flats above shops.”