Elderly landlord finally banned after five separate convictions

Landlord Jack Collins has been banned from letting out properties after being fined multiple times for enabling his homes to fall into drastic states of disrepair. 

Among the offences across his Leeds portfolio are leaving exposed wires, failing to maintain fire alarms and leaving tenants with no hot water – leading to five separate prosecutions.

Collins is 71 and has had four heart attacks, as he argued that his ill health made it difficult to manage the properties, while the situation was worsened by a succession of “poor tenants” who damaged the houses.

The judge, at a first tier tribunal, ruled that Collins was unsuitable to rent out houses, and he was therefore added to a national database of rogue landlords and banned from renting properties for five years.

Thanks his age and health the tribunal said he should have employed contractors to fix the problems for him rather than engaging in a solo mission. He previously said he was unhappy with the quality of work from contractors and therefore felt he had to do the work himself.

Collins owned five properties in Leeds at Sefton Terrace, Hardy Street, Crosby Road, Hillside Avenue and Greenshaw Terrace, which were all let to residential tenants.

Before that he owned four Houses in Multiple Occupation, all of which have been sold since 2019.

The court documents said he is looking to sell off his remaining housing stock and was due to retire from letting out properties anyway, having done so since 1989. Therefore, the tribunal said “the banning order will simply bring forward the Respondents intention to retire”.

The Sefton Terrace property in Beeston

He was prosecuted at magistrates’ court in November 2019 for failing to ensure the Sefton Terrace property was in a living condition and fined £24,324.60. He was also forced to pay £8,655 for offences related to the same property in December 2018.

Leeds Live reported in November 2019 that his total fines and costs connected to offensives add up to £59,217.

And earlier this year he was forced to pay another £14,181 at court after he 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 on the verge of falling out.

That indiscretion seemed to be the final straw, as Leeds City Council stepped in to pursue a banning order that would prevent Collins from renting out properties.

The tribunal documents reveal: “(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.”

Collins argued that the management offences he was accused of have been exaggerated, a claim that was rebuked at the tribunal.

His housing manager from 2008 to 2016 is said to have taken on some poor tenants that caused substantial damage.

The tribunal writeup said: “Bearing in mind the fact that the evidence in the case establishes that Mr Collins has appeared before the Leeds Magistrates Court on five occasions for sentence in relation to having committed 25 banning order offences, during the time period covered by this case, the Tribunal has no doubt at all that the offending is serious. Add to that the nature of some of the offences relating to fire safety, fire escape routes, maintenance of the living areas, improvement notices for category 1 hazards that were not remedied within the permitted time, etc. These are serious offences that merit a banning order being made.

“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.”

If Collins defies the order to stop renting out properties he could be imprisoned for up to 51 weeks and fined up to £30,000.

He can continue letting the rented properties for three months until his tenants are rehoused.

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