Thursday, 10 December 2009

Landlords landed with £11,000 bill for failing to license houses

Landlord brothers who failed to properly licence four rented houses – even after six months, numerous reminders and with a council official actually visiting one of them to help him fill in the form – have been heavily fined.

Tariq Mahmood Zaman and Khalid Mahmood Zaman today pleaded guilty at Leeds Magistrates Court to charges of renting out four houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) without any of them being licensed.

They were both fined £1,000 for each house and ordered to pay full costs of £3,210 and a £15 ‘victim’s surcharge’ – meaning a bill of £5,620.50 each.

Over some 30 weeks from 1st July 2008, it is believed Tariq Zaman received nearly £10,000 in rent from the four properties – 34A Manor Drive, 69 Manor Drive, 54 Richmond Mount, and 15 Chestnut Avenue. However, all the properties are licensable HMOs which meet the mandatory criteria and should have been licensed.

Officers from Leeds City Council’s HMO Licensing Team visited 34a Manor Drive, Leeds, in August 2008. The previous owner applied for a HMO Licence in 2006 but had withdrawn it in 2007 as they said they no longer wished to rent it out. However, it was sold to Khalid Zaman of 48 Manor Drive, Leeds, on 10th September 2007.

When the officer visited, they were told by a tenant that five people lived there and they had signed a contract, effective from the 1st July 2008. All rented HMOs must be licensed and this meant the property fell under the council’s licensing rules.

However, Mr Zaman claimed that only one tenant occupied the property and had never applied for a licence.

Mr Zaman was advised to complete and return a licence application form. Two months later, a further inspection showed that the house still had five tenants living there, but no application form had been submitted. A member of the team telephoned Mr Zaman, who agreed to fill out an application form. They then visited his office to help him fill it in, leaving with a promise from Mr Zaman that he would finish and return it.

Approximately four months later, an application had still not been submitted.

The applications for the HMO Licences for the four properties were received towards the end of February, only after officers of the HMO Team became involved in pursuing the application for 34A Manor Drive.

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for housing, said:
“We have these HMO licenses for a reason – to ensure that these large rented properties are fit for people to live in.
“It is the responsibility of the landlords to apply for these licenses and we will come down hard on anyone who thinks the rules do not apply to them.
“Otherwise it isn’t fair on the vast majority of landlords who do follow the rules and apply for a licence.”

ENDS
For media enquiries, please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3937
Email: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Oh yes it is…a festive road safety message


Caption: Road safety officers get ready for panto season

Road safety officers will be ‘treading the boards’ in primary schools across Leeds this Christmas as they perform their pantomime ‘The gift of life’.

The 20 minute performance features Santa Claus, Rudolf the ‘rapping’ reindeer, ‘Scary Mary’ the Christmas fairy, Neil Downe and his mum, Ida.

The pantomime is a fun and entertaining way to highlight serious road safety messages and remind children of the importance of staying safe when on or near the city’s roads.

Councillor Stuart Andrew, lead member for road safety said:
“Unfortunately the festive season can also bring increased dangers on our roads with darker evenings and bad weather.

“This pantomime is a fun way for our road safety team to deliver some very important messages to young children, and will remind them to think about their own safety and to be aware of the dangers that are around them.”

Leeds City Council’s road safety team work across the city to reduce the number of children injured on local roads and deliver a wide range of age appropriate road safety training in primary and secondary schools.

ENDS

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Decoration-making ? Yule love it...

The Christmas spirit will be in the air this weekend at a special decoration-making event at Roundhay Park.

Taking place from 10am-4pm on Saturday 12th December at the Roundhay Park Education Rooms, the family event will allow people of all ages the chance to learn how to make traditional Christmas decorations such as garlands and yule logs from natural materials.

All of the materials such as holly and pine cones have been collected sustainably from Leeds City Council-managed parks and countryside areas, and will be used at the event to create authentic natural decorations.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:

“This will be a fantastic day out for people of all ages, learning how to use the natural resources found in our parks in Leeds to create beautiful Christmas decorations and helping people get in the Christmas spirit.

“There’s nothing like a real Christmas tree and the same can be said of natural decorations, so hopefully lots of people will go along to Roundhay Park and have a great day while learning how to make some really impressive decorations.”

The event will be held at the Roundhay Park Education Rooms in the Visitor Centre next to The Mansion off Mansion Lane. Admission is priced at £2 for adults, £1 for children.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Learning and Leisure Media Relations Officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Printers in court for second time over poor fume control

A printing firm that had already been prosecuted for breaching its air pollution permit has been fined £5,000 after being caught breaching it again.

Web Site (Leeds) Ltd, based on Lockside Road, Stourton, pleaded guilty to three counts of breaching environmental regulations at Leeds Magistrates Court on Thursday 3 December and was fined £5,000, with costs of £2,850.98 and a victim surcharge of £15.

The company had already been convicted of the same offences in 2008, receiving a 12 month conditional discharge and a £500 fine.

Because the firm uses solvents which can pollute the atmosphere, it must comply with the condition of an environmental permit that ensures emission limits are met.

Director and shareholder of the firm, Graham Michael Glynn, told the court that equipment designed to stop solvents used in the printing process from escaping had been installed in 2005 at the cost of £160,000. However, difficulties with the suppliers and testers of the machinery meant that the firm failed to meet its emission limits, despite its conviction last year.

Councillor James Monaghan, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for environmental services, said:
“Environmental regulations are in place for a reason – to protect the public and the environment. We will come down hard on those who, for whatever reason, fail to protect their staff.”

ENDS
For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 229 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Deck the halls with Christmas calendars – thanks to Leeds youngsters!

Youngsters have been praised for their festive images of the whole community coming together for Christmas – which will soon be adorning walls across a part of Leeds.

Along with its partners, East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL) has been celebrating the artistic talents of the winners of its annual Children's Calendar Competition, which has won widespread acclaim for the quality of the work produced.

Working with its partners, ENEHL have had another successful year with it’s Children’s Calendar Competition. The competition was open to children aged between five and 15 from the ENEHL area. They were asked to paint pictures that depicted celebrating being a good neighbour, equality, housing and communities. The winning entries are being used to create a calendar that will be given to all the tenants in the ENEHL area.

The coveted front cover has been won by Edwin Chembakottuphenpurayil, aged 12, from Primrose High School, with his picture depicting a community scene.

The 13 winners will each receive a prize ranging from gift vouchers to iPod Shuffles and a digital camera. All the winners will also receive a certificate and a print of their winning entry.

The other winners of the ENEHL Calendar Competition were: Ann Marie Vella, Charlie Newsam, Delina Areya, Ehsan Neshat, Elouise Morrison, Felicity Greenfield, Jessica Young, Lauren Raddings, Lucy Madden, Molly Hogg, Rezwana, Thomas Lee.

ENEHL is one of the city’s three organisations that manage and maintain council housing in the city on behalf of Leeds City Council.

ENEHL would like to thank Colour Copy, ABC Promotional Gifts, Resource Print Solutions, EXCELL, Fast Signs and Communisis for sponsoring the Children’s Calendar Competition.

Angelena Fixter, chair of the East North East Homes Leeds board, said:
"It was splendid that the competition received so many entries.
“As there were so many great pictures from which to choose, the judges said it was a difficult decision to make.
“Having seen the designs, I can understand why the judges went for them as they have some wonderful style and cheerfulness.”

Notes to editors:
East North East Homes Leeds
is one of three Arms Length Management Organisations (ALMO) which manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council. It is wholly owned by the council, which retains ownership of housing stock and sets rents.
East North East Homes Leeds manages 19,000 council-owned residential properties in Boston Spa, Burmantofts, Chapel Allerton, Chapeltown, Collingham, Gipton, Halton Moor, Harehills, Linton, Meanwood, Moor Allerton, Moortown, Seacroft, and Wetherby.

ENDS
For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 229 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Icing on the skates for Christmas


Caption: An ice skating lesson with Skate UK

With the run up to Christmas moving very quickly people need look no further for an ice cool Christmas present this year than to Millennium Square.

Leeds City Council’s famous and very popular Ice Cube makes its return to Millennium Square on 16th January 2010 to celebrate it’s tenth anniversary.

Ice Skating lessons are now available in the countdown to the arrival of the rink, so get those skates on and book your session early. The perfect Christmas present for beginners or any potential Torvil and Deans, there is a lesson for everyone.

Beginner lessons, aimed at people of all ages, will take place every Saturday morning from 23rd January 2010 for six weeks, with intermediate classes for those who are more confident on the ice taking place on Sunday mornings from 24th January for six weeks.

Lessons will run from 9:00am -9:45am with skaters being taught and given advice by Skate UK professionals, and allowed to develop at their own pace. Skaters will then be able to take advantage of the public skating from 10:00am-12:00am for free to perfect their newly learned skills.

Leeds City Council executive member for Leisure Councillor John Procter said:
“It is great to see the Ice Cube return to Millennium Square this year, and the skating lessons are a perfect gift for someone who wants to get to grips with the ice, or to improve on what they already know.

“I am sure the Ice Cube will prove ever popular and I look forward to seeing everyone enjoying themselves on the ice in the New Year.”

The tickets will be allocated on a first come first served basis, with bookings closing on Friday 22nd January 2010. Tickets will be available from the City Centre Box Office in the Carriageworks, at a cost of £69 (inc VAT) for all 6 lessons and this includes a free skate in the proceeding 10.00 – 12.00 public skating session and presentation of an official Skate UK certificate upon completion of the course. For further information call the box office on 0113 2243801.

Leeds City Council in association with Education Leeds are once again offering over 100 free 45 minute ice skating training sessions this year to schools in the Leeds Metropolitan District. The NISA (National Ice Skating Association) approved ‘First Steps to Skating’ programme includes basic tuition by qualified coaches with all ice skates and safety helmets provided, and all pupils completing the session will receive a signed certificate. There will be four daily sessions available weekdays between Monday 18th January to Friday 5th March 2010 (excluding half term week - Friday 12th – Monday 22nd February) inclusive. Further information for interested schools can be found on the Leeds Schools intranet.

Organised by Leeds City Council events team with support from 96.3 Radio Aire and the Yorkshire Evening Post, the Ice Cube opens on Saturday 16 January and runs up until Sunday 7 March 2010 with up to seven public skating sessions available every day between 10am – 9.30pm Monday – Saturday and 10am to 7.30pm on Sundays. For further information visit www.leeds.gov.uk/icecube.


Ends

For media enquiries please contact:
Catherine Milburn,
Learning and Leisure Communications Assistant
on 0113 247 8285
Email: catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk