Council tenants who rent out their home and live elsewhere will face much harder punishment now a new housing fraud act has been put in place.
The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act came into force on 15 October, and makes it a criminal offence for council tenants to unlawfully sublet their home and also gives councils wider powers of prosecution.
Anyone who is found guilty of committing tenancy fraud will face a fine and custodial sentence of up to two years.
Leeds City Council has a dedicated team working to reduce tenancy fraud throughout the city and since 2009, has taken back 97 properties and re let them to people in need of a council home. The council has identified unlawful subletting in previous cases through conducting annual tenancy audits, participating in the Audit Commission’s National Fraud Initiative and working closely with local housing associations.
Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:
“When a council tenant lets their home to somebody else, they are making a profit unfairly, and depriving people on the housing waiting list of their chance of a council home.
“As a council we will not stand for this behaviour and will act accordingly to address the issue. The new act gives the authority more powers to deal with offenders, and we will continue to pursue this issue to ensure homes are let correctly to the right tenants.”
If you suspect illegal subletting is taking place in your area, you can report it by calling one of our fraud reporting hotlines:
Housing Leeds numbers;
If you live in south Leeds or the Aire Valley- 0113 378 1410
If you live in east or north east Leeds - 0113 247 6681
If you live in west or north west Leeds - 0113 378 2530
All information that is given to the council will be treated in confidence, and your details will not be passed on to anybody else.
For media enquiries, please contact;
Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450
Friday, 25 October 2013
A popular square in the heart of Leeds city centre is once again set to become the home for the sights and sounds of a traditional German Christmas market.
Opening on Friday 8 November, as part of the council’s new ‘Winter WonderLeeds’ programme, Millennium Square will once again be transformed by authentic traders from Germany into a scenic winter village featuring over 40 traditional wooden chalet stalls decorated with festive greenery and twinkling colourful lights, themed indoor venues and the traditional Christmas carousel ride.
Organised by Leeds City Council in partnership with Frankfurt City Council and supported by media partners Real Radio and the Yorkshire Evening Post, over 750,000 people are expected to attend the 12th annual Christkindelmarkt, which will provide a continental style festive shopping experience featuring handcrafted seasonal gift ideas, toys, jewellery, Christmas cards and unique festive decorations.
A range of seasonal food & drink and traditional German delicacies will also be available, including gluhwein, bratwurst sausages, schnitzels, soups and goulash, stollen, gingerbread, roasted nuts and candied fruits.
The Frankfurter Scheune festive meeting hall, Alp Chalet Bavarian eatery and the ever popular Kuh Stall will once again provide visitors and shoppers alike with a cosy retreat in which to relax. Due to the popularity of the Alp Chalet which opened for the first time last year, dinning reservations are recommended and can be made in person only at the venue.
New for 2013 will also be a weekly children’s event every Sunday which will be available for families between 10.30am to 12.30pm in the Frankfurter Scheune with a programme including Santa, music, magic and bakery.
Another change to the Frankfurter Scheune this year will see the venue closing for an hour each day Monday – Saturday between 4pm to 5pm. This will allow for the venue to be cleaned and re-set for the evening entertainment programme.
On offer in the evening will be live music provided by the popular traditional German show band. Due to high demand, no advanced bookings are available for the evening session with entry strictly on a first come first served basis.
Anyone keen to get a memento of their visit to the market will also be able to purchase photos from official event photographers.
The market will be open daily from 10.30am to 9:30pm Monday to Saturday and 10.30am to 7pm on Sundays. Due to arrangements for Remembrance Sunday on 10 November, the market will not open on that day until 12 noon.
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure and skills said:
"We are delighted to welcome back the Christkindelmarkt to Millennium Square, which now in its 12th year has proved to be a very popular attraction for thousands of people to visit every year.
"Once again there will be a range of stalls offering an array of gifts and food and drink, in what is always a fantastic festive atmosphere that all the family can enjoy.
"It is also really great news that for the first time there will be a weekly event offering activities for children to enjoy and take part in. These promise to be really great fun, and will add another dimension to the Christkindelmarkt experience."
Kurt Stroscher, Head of Events & Marketing, Frankfurt City Council said:
"It is an honour and a very special pleasure to be holding an authentic German Christmas market in the heart of Leeds for the 12th consecutive year.
"This is a great cooperation between Leeds and Frankfurt and after all this time our British friends now know all about the German Christmas traditions and spirit. We would like to say thank you very much to everyone in Leeds for this great success."
Notes to editors:
The German market will be open from Friday 8 November 2013 until Wednesday 18 December 2013.
For more information, call Leeds City Council’s Events team on 0113 395 0891 or visit www.leeds.gov.uk/christmasmarket.
Christkindelmarkt forms part of the city’s wider festive activity programme ‘Winter WonderLeeds’ which focuses on the best in Leeds Christmas markets including the ‘Made in Yorkshire Festive Fayre’ Crafts Market on Victoria Gardens and a new 17 day Christmas festival on Briggate, running from Friday 6 to Sunday 22 December.
Brand new for 2013, Winter WonderLeeds on Briggate will feature a giant marquee housing 20 stalls showcasing food, drink, crafts and festive goods celebrating the very best of Leeds; whilst an events space will provide arts, culture and entertainment for all ages. For further information visit http://www.leedsmarkets.co.uk/winterwonderleeds
In addition to the various market offerings, a Festive Family Funfair will also be taking place on Cookridge Street (between the Headrow and St Anne’s street) every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 22 November to 15 December 2013.
Open from 11am to 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays and 11am to 6pm on Sundays, the fairground and will feature the popular dodgems, flying chairs, convoy, cups and saucers rides amongst others together with a traditional candy floss and refreshment stall.
For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578
Posted by Leeds City Council press office at 13:50