More than 100 students who had their deposits stolen by notorious landlord Tariq Zaman are finally being refunded.
Zaman was ordered to pay nearly £40,000 in relation to various offenses, following a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act at Leeds Crown Court in August. The total sum in relation to student deposits was approximately £5,000. The 44-year-old refused to return the students’ deposits on completion of their tenancy at the end of the academic year.
After persevering for years to claim back their money, this week the victims will finally receive the deposits the landlord refused to pay them. The offences related to nine properties, mainly in the Headingley, Kirkstall and Burley areas, owned by members of Zaman’s family. Earlier this year the infamous property owner was convicted of 18 counts of theft over an eight-year period. Zaman was given a 46 week suspended jail term. Several students obtained county court judgments against Zaman but he still failed to return the money leading to the police getting involved. Four years ago the BBC’s Watchdog investigated Zaman’s letting agency, Providence Properties Ltd., after students raised their issues.
The landlord was filmed saying: “Listen mate, getting a county court judgement, right, it doesn’t mean nothing. That does not guarantee you that you get your money back.” An anonymous victim said: “This news comes as a real shock; I had lost faith in ever seeing that money again. It’s truly great to see not only the victims in this case compensated by the court but more importantly Zaman being brought to justice! I would like to sincerely thank you for all your hard work, determination and perseverance in this case.” Detective Constable Jo Hind, who led the investigation, said: “This was a lengthy and complex enquiry and so it is genuinely satisfying to see it conclude with those people that were ripped off by Zaman getting their money back.”
“I have contacted all those involved to say they will be getting all or the vast majority of their money back and have had some very positive feedback.” Continued on page 5 He added: “This case clearly shows how the Proceeds of Crime Act not only gives us the power to strip criminals of their ill-gotten gains but also means we can get justice for victims who have lost out financially through crime.” Leeds Student has featured extensive coverage of issues associated with Zaman over past years in the effort to bring him to justice, uncovering links between the landlord and the Student Property Shop estate agent. Back in 2008, the prospect of getting the money from Zaman seemed bleak, but the students were persistent:
“I want my money back. I just want my money back. I know it’s been a long time but it’s still a lot of money.” In 2009 one of the victims said: “We’re not going to give up.” Student Welfare Officer, Katie Siddall, voiced her opinion on the case: “It’s really pleasing to see that these students, who were treated unfairly by Tariq Zaman, now have justice.
It’s made even better by the fact that many thought they would never see the money again. This case also highlights how important it is to speak out if you feel your landlord has mistreated you. Services such as the Student Advice Centre are here to support you if you find yourself in a similar situation.”