Thursday, 25 September 2014

Failing landlord faces punishment

Leeds landlord Zulfiqar Ali Din has been fined £1,825 and ordered to pay costs of £2,082.62 plus a £120 victim surcharge after failing to comply with an Improvement Notice served under the provisions of Section 11 & 12 of the Housing Act 2004.

Mr Din, who was the landlord and joint owner of the privately rented property in Stocks Hill, Armley did not comply with the Improvement Notice served on him on 3rd July 2013 which required specified works to be carried out before 3rd September 2013. This left the property without adequate heating, fire safety precautions, damp and mould, electrical hazards and structural issues, which were only fully completed in July 2014.
When the council were told about the serious hazards within the property, an officer from the Private Sector Housing Team investigated the matter.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, Planning and Personnel, said:

“Our team contacted this landlord on numerous occasions regarding hazards at his property, but he failed to respond to any correspondence. This was after the tenant had already tried to sort things out. It is not acceptable for a small minority of landlords to fail to treat their tenants properly and uphold decent standards of safety and maintenance.
“Leeds City Council works closely with landlords throughout the city to offer advice, guidance and support which will make letting properties more straightforward. I strongly recommend that anyone who is renting out a property considers joining Leeds Landlords Accreditation Scheme where members are provided with a package of exclusive benefits to enhance their business and provide access to a range of our services.”

Mr Din failed to attend the first hearing on 29th May 2014, requesting an adjournment. This was granted, and he then requested two more adjournments before the trial finally commenced on the 23rd September 2014 at Leeds Magistrates Court.
The Magistrates found that Leeds City Council had proved the case, beyond all reasonable doubt and Mr Din was found guilty of offences under Section 30 of the Housing Act 2004.

Notes for editors:

More details about the council’s landlord scheme is available at:
http://www.leeds.gov.uk/Business/Pages/Leeds-Landlords'-AccreditationScheme.aspx

Media contact:

Phil Morcom

Communications and Marketing team
Leeds City Council

Tel: 0113 224 3602
Fax: 0113 247 4736
www.leeds.gov.uk

Core Cities: Prime Minister's actions must match words

ISSUED ON BEHALF OF THE CORE CITIES


Caption: Core Cities Cabinet leaders (from left to right): Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, Cllr Phil Bale, Leader of Cardiff City Council, Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, Cllr Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council, Cllr Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council, Cllr Graham Chapman, Deputy Leader of Nottingham City Council, Cllr Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council

Voters ‘will not accept delays’ or ‘half measures’ on devolution city leaders said today.

Meeting at the Labour Party Conference in Manchester 10 city leaders represented by the umbrella organisation Core Cities UK signed a strongly-worded letter to First Secretary of State William Hague asking for devolution to cities across the UK to be enacted at the same speed as devolution to Scotland.

The leaders welcomed a statement from the Prime Minister saying that the UK’s great cities must be ‘empowered’ following the close-run Scottish referendum.

But they said: "Our communities, our voters, will not accept delays based on constitutional wrangles, or half-measures delivered through political compromise."

The eight English Core Cities – Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield – have recently been joined by Cardiff and Glasgow, forming ‘Core Cities UK’.

The Core Cities Cabinet has issued the following letter to William Hague MP, First Secretary of State and Leader of the House of Commons who has been charged by the Prime Minister with delivering devolution and constitutional change following the Scottish Referendum ‘No’ result (copied to the leaders of all three main parties and Lord Kelvin who is overseeing this process for Scotland).

STATEMENT
Dear Mr Hague,

A No for independence is a Yes for devolution, not just in Scotland, but across the United Kingdom. Devolution is now the most important constitutional political issue facing Parliament, and the 10 Welsh, Scottish and English cities of the newly expanded ‘Core Cities UK’ have met today to agree plans for how this can happen across the whole of the Union.

The 10 Core Cities deliver 28% of the English, Welsh and Scottish economies combined. By 2030, the eight English Core Cities alone could put 1.16 million jobs and £222 billion extra into the economy. That’s like adding the entire economy of Denmark to the UK - with Glasgow and Cardiff onside it will be even more - more houses, jobs, growth and prosperity.

To reach these targets, the English cities alone will need to achieve the following.
• 259,000 more graduates and 443,000 people with NVQ Level 1-3 than currently predicted
• Transport infrastructure capable of supporting 250,000 more commuters and 51,000 extra business journeys a day
• Around £104 billion capital investment

These challenges cannot be met by our heavily centralised and over bureaucratic systems of investment and delivery. Although our cities contribute a massive share of the nation’s wealth, they largely underperform by international standards.

Overwhelming evidence demonstrates this is because they have too long been subject to centralised control, and this is just as true for Glasgow and Cardiff as it is for cities in England.

People clearly want more local freedom from central constraint, wherever they live. And to get better results for the economy and public services, devolution has to be to cities. Devolution cannot just be to national parliaments, replacing a centralised Government in Westminster with one in Scotland, Wales or indeed England. An English parliament alone is not the answer. We therefore welcome the Prime Minister’s statement that Government must “empower our great cities”.

There is now an unquestionable case that it is far more important to have devolution at a much more local level, starting with our great cities, where devolution will result in the greatest benefits in terms of jobs, growth and improved public services.
Whilst the referendum debate took place in Scotland, we have held public debates in our Core Cities, ‘Local Voices’, which will continue in the months ahead as we push for greater local freedom. These events have demonstrated the passion people feel about where and how they live across the UK, and that the right levels of local autonomy matter.

Business agrees. All the Chairs of the Core City-area Local Enterprise Partnerships in England have signed a joint statement supporting policies for devolution. At our recent National Business Summit in London, senior figures from retail, manufacturing, investment, venture capital and the CBI also agreed with us.

It’s cities that drive growth and jobs for their nations, not the other way around. To do so cities need more freedom, for example to decide how more of the taxes raised locally are spent locally.

A programme of devolution for Scotland has been set out, but our national agenda for devolution is simply not radical enough. The devolution we need has to be at the level of the city and even the neighbourhood. Any legislation must make provision for the whole of the UK, and specifically for its cities – Core Cities, but other places too. Although the timing should not restrict the promises to Scotland being delivered, we would like to see this within the same time frame for the whole of the UK.

Our communities, our voters, will not accept delays based on constitutional wrangles, or half measures delivered through political compromise. They want and deserve action and leadership on this agenda across all three main parties.

The devolution we seek will get solutions closer to problems allowing success to be judged by one simple standard: better outcomes. It will allow not only more effective delivery of economic, social and environmental interventions, but also far more effective integration of services at the right geographic level, giving us for more bang for each pound of public sector investment. More jobs and growth; investment for housing and transport; improved public services. In short unlocking the massive unused potential of our cities.

The people of Scotland have decided that devolution and Union are not incompatible, and neither is local freedom and national growth. In an increasingly competitive global economy the UK’s big cities are Britain’s best bet, and devolution to them must match our ambition, our passion and that of the people that live in them.

We ask to meet you and the Prime Minister at your earliest convenience to discuss this vital matter.

ENDS

Media contacts
Alex Linden
Westbourne Communications
Alex.linden@westbournecoms.com / 020 3397 1874

Notes to editors:
The Core Cities consist of: Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.

The Core Cities recently released a Growth Prospectus which can be read at www.corecities.com/what-we-do/publications

The Core Cities are a unique and united local authority voice to promote the role of their cities in driving economic growth. They represent the councils of England’s eight largest city economies outside London and Scotland and Wales’s largest cities. The Core Cities Group has a track record of 15 years as a cross party group, led by the City Leaders and Mayors. For more information please visit http://www.corecities.com