A Leeds landlord has been fined over £29,000 after cramming 11 tenants into an overcrowded buy to let investment property designed for a maximum of seven people.
Rogue landlord Matthew Corrie was issued the fine following a prosecution brought by Leeds City Council. A hearing which took place at Leeds Magistrates’ Court ruled that Corrie, of Edinburgh, has breached licence conditions as well over-occupancy in the property.
The prosecution came as part of the council’s aim to work with landlords of HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) in order to ensure tenants are safe and in appropriate accommodation. The council reported that Leeds issues the largest number of mandatory HMO licences in England. HMO licences include conditions such as fire safety requirements as well as controlling the number of tenants that each rental property can safely house, in order to stop properties becoming overcrowded. It is a criminal offence for landlords to manage a licensable HMO without holding the appropriate licence for a house in multiple occupation.
Speaking after the ruling, the council’s executive member for communities, Councillor Debra Coupar, said: ‘We are addressing the huge demand for housing in the city and overcrowding issues by working with landlords to make sure they know what is safe and reasonable. Our recently launched Leeds Rental Standard encourages self-regulation in the sector raising the standards of accommodation and inspiring tenant confidence. We want landlords to do the right thing, and I’m delighted that the vast majority do. However, where we hear that the rules are being broken and landlords are putting tenants at risk we will look to prosecute and make sure the safety of tenants is paramount. I would ask landlords and agents to check their HMO Licences to ensure they comply with licence conditions and to ensure their licence has not expired.’