As part of our campaign we staged a successful protest on Monday 16th December to highlight Edinburgh City Council’s lack of action against criminal landlords.
Tenants assembled outside the City Chambers – all disguised as Mark Fortune – and delivered a letter asking council staff to clamp down on dodgy landlords, and to take greater steps to support and protect tenants. (Coverage of the protest in the Daily Record)
The notorious rogue landlord Mark Fortune was banned from renting out property in Edinburgh in February 2013, but he is appealing against the council’s decision and is allowed to continue acting as a landlord until the appeal process has been completed. Ten months later, the council have still not set a date for his appeal hearing.
In the past Fortune has kept his properties in a very poor state of repair and harassed tenants; in 2011 he was convicted of breach of the peace after threatening one of his tenants with violence. For the past ten months Fortune has been allowed to continue exploiting dozens of vulnerable tenants.
An example of Edinburgh’s lack of enforcement came to light with a recent FOI request that found that Edinburgh has issued just two rent penalty notices on property owners – which would stop them collecting rent until they meet legal requirements – compared to nearly 1200 in Glasgow. (Coverage of our press-release on this topic, from the Evening News)
Many of the protesters on Monday were Fortune’s current tenants, and the disguises were their suggestion. They are afraid that they could face harassment or illegal eviction if they are identified by Fortune or his associates, but are determined to prevent other tenants from falling victim to a criminal landlord.
Thanks to the hard work of our activists, and support of our members (become a member, here!), our recent work has been making a huge impact. We are sure that the Council will make enforcement against criminal landlords a priority in the new year!