Former Mark Fortune tenants urged to pursue deposits after tribunal ruling 3

Former Mark Fortune tenants urged to pursue deposits after tribunal ruling

A former Mark Fortune tenant who is due to have her deposit returned to her after winning a housing tribunal has urged others to follow suit.

Edinburgh Holiday and Party Lets (EHPL) was ordered to refund Adéla Koubová after a housing tribunal ruled her former Fortune-owned flat in Edinburgh was not a holiday let, and she is subject to the same rights as a tenant.

In 2021, an investigation by The Ferret revealed that more than 40 former tenants of Fortune claimed they had not had their deposits returned when staying at properties run by his companies. This includes EHPL, of which Fortune is a former director.

Speaking anonymously to The Ferret in 2021, Koubová said she moved into a room in an EHPL flat at Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield Place in 2020 after answering a Gumtree advert. The room was cheap in comparison to others in the capital and she was “desperate” for accommodation.

But Fortune’s company did not return her £275 deposit when she left. This was despite numerous text messages and emails, shared with The Ferret, which showed Koubová’s requests for her deposit to be returned were ignored.

Victory against Mark Fortune-linked firm

More than three years later, Koubová is finally due to receive her money back – a victory she attributes to support from the tenants’ union Living Rent and the Mark Fortune Investigation campaign group, which is made up of former tenants.

Mark Fortune
Image Credit: Adéla Koubová

“I would have never succeeded by myself,” she said. “I hope this will encourage other tenants to take action and not let Mark Fortune treat them like this anymore.”

Koubová and other tenants were granted accommodation with bogus contracts under the guise of holiday lets, despite them being allowed to stay long term.

Holiday lets are not subject to the same fire safety and repair standards as typical lets, with fewer safeguards in place, such as requiring landlords to put their deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme.

An EHPL contract given to a former tenant.

Fortune began to offer holiday lets after being taken off the council’s landlord’s register in 2013. Living Rent has repeatedly called on authorities to stop Fortune from operating.

The landlord has previously argued that his properties are operated by limited companies, rather than him personally.

But BBC Scotland reported that the latest tribunal ruling said Fortune gave submissions on behalf of EHPL and “seemed to refer to himself as the landlord accidentally” on more than one occasion.

Fortune’s “position was often contradictory and therefore could not be treated as reliable”, the tribunal found.

In 2021, former tenants amassed hundreds of images of squalid conditions at Fortune’s flats.

Former Mark Fortune tenants urged to pursue deposits after tribunal ruling 4
Black mould at a Fortune flat in Bruntsfield.

In May 2023, Fortune’s EHPL was ordered to make one of its flats “fit for human habitation” by carrying out extensive repairs.

Header image credit: Dazigster (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hi! You can login using the form below.
Not registered yet?
Having trouble logging in? Try here.