Leeds City Council, working with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) and other partners across the city, carried out an operation on Dewsbury Road last week as part of a scheme tackling rogue landlords.
The multi-agency operation was targeting fire safety, environmental health and standards of accommodation, as well as offering residents and landlords advice and support to ensure accommodation and safety were highlighted.
Elements of the operation included:
– Inspections of 22 flats above commercial premises identified a number of serious problems with the flats relating to a lack of fire detection, overcrowding, entrapment in the event of a fire, excess cold, electrical hazards and falls. Formal action will now be taken against the landlords concerned to address the issues found.
– Status checked on 35 individuals working and living on Dewsbury Road by Home Office Immigration. Two suspected illegal immigrants were identified for follow up action and two premises are to be revisited with housing officers following intelligence obtained.
– Home fire safety visits carried out by WYFRS at 12 residential flats and 17 businesses. Five premises require follow-up visits with a further three requiring urgent follow-up due to inadequate fire separation between commercial and residential elements and a lack of fire detection linked to the flat above.
– Commercial waste issues were identified at 10 premises, with legal notices for ‘duty of care’ to be served on a further five premises and prosecutions proceedings being instigated against one food premises.
Leeds City Council executive member for neighbourhoods, planning and personnel Councillor Peter Gruen said:
“This is another successful example of the value of teams and agencies from across the city and the region working together.
“It is quite concerning that the inspections uncovered such serious issues; overcrowding, electrical hazards, the potential to be trapped in a fire and lack of smoke or fire alarms doesn’t bear thinking about. That others have ignored their responsibilities to deal with waste or immigration rules cannot be tolerated. Various professionals will be following up to ensure action is taken swiftly.
“Health and safety is of the utmost importance for all premises and accommodation in Leeds, and we are firmly committed to taking appropriate measures to prevent anyone breaking the law as well as offering advice and support to keep people safe.”
The operation was delivered by Leeds City Council using government funds earmarked for tackling rogue landlords in the city. £125,000 was awarded by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), following a successful joint bid by Leeds City Council and WYFRS to tackle quality and fire safety issues in flats above shops.