Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Landlord fined for ignoring council warnings

A landlord in Leeds has been fined over £2000 for failing to licence his property properly.

At Leeds Magistrates Court on Thursday 3 March 2011, Mr Samuel Arthur Cross pleaded guilty for failing to apply for a Selective Licence for his property at 3 Clark Crescent in Leeds.

Mr Cross was fined £1000 with costs of £1240.40 plus a victim surcharge of £15.00.

As part of a campaign to improve housing in the Cross Green and East End Park part of the city , the Selective Licensing Scheme ensures that all owners of privately-rented properties need a licence to operate. Failure to get a licence, or comply with the conditions, can lead to a fine.

Mr Cross stated that he could not remember receiving any letters despite being sent numerous warnings by the Selective Licensing Team to apply for the five-year license, which cost just £525 per property covering a five year period.

The purpose of the licence is to allow the council to attach conditions that ensure appropriate property and management standard are adhered to.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods and housing said:

“This prosecution is a further example of Leeds City Councils’ determination to pursue and prosecute landlords under the Selective Licensing provisions.

“Our selective licensing team has been very successful since the scheme was introduced in October 2009, and have pushed through over 25 prosecutions already, making us one of the most, if not the most successful councils in the UK for dealing with landlords without a selective licence.”

Notes to editors

Selective Licensing was introduced following the presentation of a business case which was presented to the secretary of state in May 2009. The area of Cross Green and East End Park was selected due to being identified as having a high degree of empty properties in the area.

In May 2009 the Secretary of State granted Leeds City Council permission to introduce Selective licensing under the provisions of Part 3 of the Housing Act 2004 in specific areas of Cross Green and East End Park. From the 1st of October 2009 Selective Licensing came into force.

Under the Act any person, owner or landlord who is in control of a property which is being let /rented out within the Selective Licensing Area of Cross Green and East End Park must apply for a licence.

The cost of the five year licence is normally £525 which equates to approximately £2.00 per week over a five year period.

Where a landlord holds a current HMO Licence for a property within the Selective Licence Area they do not need to apply for a further Licence under the Selective Licensing provisions.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

Young family moves into new generation of council housing

Caption: New tennant Mr Amir Ahmadi with his two children.

A family with two young children have moved into one of the first council homes to be built in Leeds for 20 years.

After living in an overcrowded private rental property, Mr Amir Ahmadi, his wife, and two children moved to the area, and are among the first to move into a new development of three-bedroom council homes on Easterly Square in Gipton.

After living in Leeds for just under 10 years, Amir was delighted to be housed in Gipton, as it is an area which he knows well, after having worked around east Leeds for some time.

The eight new homes sit alongside 18 already built, with a further 45 two and three-bedroom homes to be completed by March 2011.

Built by Leeds City Council as part of the east Leeds regeneration programme and managed by East North East Homes Leeds, these homes will increase the amount of affordable housing across the east and south east areas of the city.

Mr Amir Ahmadi talking about his new house, said:
“The house is fantastic, we could not have asked for a better set up. It is great to be in a new build, and there is plenty of space for my family – they are really excited to have moved in.”

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods and housing said:

“The new properties are superb, and I am pleased Mr Ahmadi and his family are settling into their new home so well. This, development really proves our commitment to council housing and regeneration across Leeds.

“The new homes are constructed to a high environmental specification with eco-friendly, energy saving features including highly efficient double glazing and cavity wall insulation. These green features reduce residents’ energy bills and the negative environmental impacts made on the local area.”

Angelena Fixter, chair of the East North East Homes Leeds Board said:
“In today’s difficult economic times the demand for affordable housing is increasing; I’m delighted to be able to be part of a partnership delivering these new family homes. This is great news for the future of council housing and great news for the local people of East Leeds”.

Built on the former site of rundown one-bedroom flats, the new accommodation addresses a lack of family homes in the area.

East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL), one of the three Arms Length Management Organisations that manage and maintain council housing on behalf of Leeds City Council, created a local lettings policy to make sure the new homes are assigned for local people and preference is given to those who are key workers. The houses are advertised through the council’s Choice Based Lettings magazine, so people who are registered on the council housing waiting list can then express an interest in the property when it is advertised as available.

£3.5million funding for the development came from a successful bid by Leeds City Council’s East Leeds Regeneration Team to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

The let was arranged and will be supported by East North East Homes Leeds (ENEHL), one of the city’s three Arms Length Management Organisations that manage and maintain the city’s council housing stock.

Notes for 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.

East Leeds Regeneration is …
• Working with the community and partners to improve neighbourhoods
• Investing now and for the future
• Improving quality of life and choices for local people

Contact the East Regeneration Team:
• Ring on 0113 2143487
• Email on easel@leeds.gov.uk
• Write to Unit 1 Acorn Business Park, Killingbeck Drive, Leeds LS14 6UF

The new council houses are built to meet to meet level three of the government’s Code for Sustainable Building Standards. This includes energy efficient lighting, insulation and boiler systems that heats and uses water efficiently.


For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk

Creches to continue at four Leeds leisure centres

Leeds City Council have announced that crèche provision is to continue at four leisure centres.

Following a comprehensive review of the service, the drop-in crèche facilities at Kippax, Pudsey, Rothwell and Scott Hall leisure centres are to be extended for up to an initial six months beginning on Friday 1 April.

The extension is to be conducted on a trial basis, with the council working with all parties to discuss opening hours and all other aspects to encourage as many parents and carers as possible to visit the leisure centres and use the crèche facilities which are open to anyone attending a leisure centre fitness class or session.

The future of the crèches at the four centres along with those at East Leeds and Aireborough first arose in October when it was proposed to end the service due to falling demand and rising costs which meant the council subsidised the service over the last 12 months at a cost of £10.22 per hour for every child attending.

This decision was put on hold to allow for all options to be explored with current and potential users of the creches surveyed as well as consultation being held with the council’s early years service and with industry specialists.

The outcome has been that four of the crèches will remain open, but in order to reduce the level of subsidy required the cost of the service at full price is to increase from £2 to £4 per hour. Discounts will still be available for customers with a LEEDSCard or LEEDSCard Extra.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“We have taken the decision that these crèches will remain open as we realise that they do provide a valuable service. We thank everyone who took part in the consultation and hope we are showing we have listened to what they have said and responded accordingly.

“Unfortunately given the budget pressures we are facing we can no longer operate these crèches at a significant loss so the prices have had to be increased, but we hope that everyone will work together to make these crèches as successful and well-used as possible in the coming months.”

Discussions remain ongoing with potential alternative providers of the crèche service and they will continue as the options are further explored.

Current users of the service are to receive letters while posters and notices will be put on display in each centre.

For further information on the changes contact local leisure centres through www.leeds.gov.uk/leisurecentres


For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk