Landlord banned for threatening to shoot tenants
A MILLIONAIRE landlord who threatened to have tenants shot has been banned from renting out property.
Mark Fortune will be breaking the law if he takes on new tenants after licensing chiefs ousted him from a list of fit and proper landlords.
It is the first time the city council has refused an application to be included on the register.
The decision comes after Fortune was fined £650 for issuing a shooting threat to tenants of a property in Lonsdale Terrace after they confronted him over a £160 repair bill.
Jaime Finn, 28, a tenant staying in the flat at the time, hailed the decision but questioned why it had taken so long and said it could be quickly reversed by Fortune’s lawyers.
He said: “Of course, I am very happy but my main concern is that this is overturned because of some legal loophole while he continues to benefit by changing the name under which the properties are registered.”
Mr Finn said the council’s decision was the right one after he and his flatmates were left terrified when Fortune “blew up” in front of them after they insisted he pay for a series of minor repair jobs at his Lonsdale Terrace property. He said: “He threatened everybody in the flat.
“He said, ‘I will kick the f*** out of you,’ and was boasting about having friends who had been locked up for shooting someone.
“As he left, he kicked the door in and went downstairs in a fit of rage.
“After that, we began to receive threatening phone calls.”
It is understood Fortune’s existing tenants could stay on in his Edinburgh properties as they would be considered to have tenants’ rights under their contractual agreements.
But they cannot be charged rent by Fortune or his associates as he is no longer a legally registered landlord.
Council chiefs also said any new registration application would be scrutinised thoroughly in light of the decision to keep Fortune off their approved list.
It is understood Fortune has launched an appeal against the move.
The decision has been welcomed by tenants rights groups and councillors.
Jon Black, secretary of Edinburgh Private Tenants Action Group, which was founded by some of Fortune’s ex-tenants, said: “We are really pleased.
“But registering the properties under a different name could easily be a loophole here. Action still needs to be taken to tighten the system up.”
Councillor Gavin Barrie, leader of the Capital’s regulatory committee, said: “Whilst the significant majority of landlords are of good character and comply with the law, there are some, such as Mark Fortune, who act unlawfully.
“Private rented property is an important part of the housing market in Edinburgh and Landlord Registration laws have an important part to play in ensuring tenants and neighbours can live their lives safe from crime, disorder and danger. This sends a clear message to landlords, tenants and their neighbours that we will take robust action against landlords who act unlawfully.”
Mr Fortune disputed the claims of Mr Finn and insisted he had never been convicted of any offence against him, adding that he had been in arrears on his rent and that an eviction order against him in 2010 had been granted.
He added: “Having been on the landlord register since May 2006, the committee’s decision was disappointing.
“Solicitors have been instructed to appeal the decision and I fully expect the appeal to succeed.”