Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Second landlord handed £12,000 bill after ignoring licensing warnings

A landlord is now facing a bill of more than £12,000, becoming the second in a fortnight to be prosecuted for failing to properly licence a property in Cross Green.

Steven Mark Ridgeon and his company, Ridge Properties Yorkshire Limited, ignored warnings to obtain ‘selective licenses’ for 2 Frederick Avenue, 36 Glensdale Grove, 1 Charles Avenue and 17 East Park Street in Leeds.

At Leeds Magistrates Court on Thursday, the company was fined £6,000 for failing to obtain a Licence for three properties and a further £1,500 fine was handed to Mr Ridgeon, the owner of the fourth property and director of the company. Costs of £3,529.90 were awarded, with a further £1,046.50 awarded against Mr Ridgeon.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for housing, said:
“Most landlords in the city take their responsibilities seriously, but there are a few who show little or no interest in managing their properties responsibly.
“A small minority of landlords let their properties without really checking up on their new tenants.
“Selective licensing helps the council deal with bad landlords and ignoring warnings that properties should be licensed is simply unacceptable.”

In a bid to crack down on anti-social tenants and poor housing, part of Cross Green and East End Park in Leeds was designated as an area of Selective Licensing last October. It means all owners of privately rented properties in the area need a special licence to operate.

Ridge Properties Yorkshire Limited ignored numerous letters and opportunities to obtain a Selective Licence, even writing on one occasion to the council to claim that it owned only four properties in the designated area, when in fact they owned a total of eight.

The firm had licensed the four it admitted to, but despite being made aware of its legal obligations chose not to license the further four properties.

In a selective licensing area the landlord must also meet a ‘fit and proper person’ test to obtain a licence. Their rented properties must meet the licence conditions, ensuring they are safe and that the landlord can, and will, deal with anti-social tenants. Failure to have applied for or obtained a licence could mean a fine, on conviction, of up to £20,000.

The aim is to help to address issues of low demand affecting the area and reduce the anti-social behaviour of tenants in privately rented properties. Landlords will not be made responsible for the actions of their tenants, but they will be expected to take action if they know that their tenants are causing a problem.

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Award for CCTV operator who helped save a life

A CCTV operator has received a national award for helping to save a woman’s life after she collapsed in January’s heavy snow.

David Illingworth, who works for Leeds City Council’s community safety service, was nominated for the Royal Humane Society Award for his role in saving the woman.

David spotted the woman, wearing just pyjamas and socks, wandering around Wykebeck Street in Leeds and contacted the police when she collapsed. They arrived within eight minutes and took the woman into her house, but said she could have potentially died of hypothermia if David had not spotted her.

David was presented with the award by Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for community safety, at the Leedswatch control room based in South Leeds.

Councillor Gruen said:
“I’m both pleased and proud to be presenting this award to David Illingworth. David is one of a number of CCTV operators who work round the clock to keep our city safe and secure.
“Because their work is out of the public eye they rarely get recognition for what they do. CCTV operators play a vital role both in fighting crime and maintaining public safety.
"I’d like to say a big thank you to David and to all of those people who work behind the scenes to keep our streets safe.”

Councillor Gruen took advantage of his visit to inspect Leedswatch’s new mobile CCTV van. The van is equipped with the most up to date CCTV equipment available including automatic number plate recognition and live video streaming equipment.

The equipment allows the van to send pictures back to the CCTV control room, from where they can be forwarded to the relevant authorities throughout the city.

This helps the police track crime and provides evidence to support rapid convictions, thus reducing the cost of police operations.

Leeds Community Safety CCTV provides and operates one of the largest CCTV systems in the country, covering 240 square miles.

The van is one of two vehicles which work closely with Divisional Neighbourhood Policing Teams and target areas for crime and anti social behaviour in and around Leeds.

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk