Rogue Leeds landlord to pay £36,000 to student victims

PAYBACK TIME: Landlord Tariq Zaman leaving Leeds Crown Court.
PAYBACK TIME: Landlord Tariq Zaman leaving Leeds Crown Court.
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A landlord who stole student tenant deposits has been ordered to pay more than £36,000 in compensation to the victims he ripped off.

Tariq Zaman, 42, was told he ‘undermined the desirability’ of Leeds as a place to study when he was sentenced for 18 offences of theft earlier this year.

Zaman yesterday (August 13) returned to Leeds Crown Court for a confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The court heard his benefit from criminal conduct was £48,600.

Alisdair Campbell, prosecuting, said Zaman had assets worth £36,960, from two bank accounts he held and the sale of his van.

Judge Scott Wolstenholme ordered Zaman to pay the amount within 14 days or face 12 months in jail. The money will go towards compensating dozens of victims.

Zaman, of Hollin Mount, was given a 46-week suspended jail term and 150 hours unpaid work after pleading guilty to 18 charges of theft over an eight-year period.

They involved him withholding money from students without legal basis. Police said the offences only represent a “wider picture” of his behaviour.

The offences related to nine properties, mainly in the Headingley, Kirkstall and Burley areas, which were owned by members of Zaman’s family.

Students rented properties for the academic year but on completion of the tenancy Zaman refused to return deposits to the victims.

Sums ranged between £200 and £300 and the total figure in relation to the offences was around £5,000. Several students obtained county court judgements against Zaman but he still failed to return the money and police became involved.

After his sentencing, Det Con Jo Hind, of the Leeds District Proceeds of Crime Act Team, said: “The 18 offences he has pleaded guilty to cover a period of eight years but are representative of a wider picture. His practice of keeping deposits without any legal basis was on such a scale that the Leeds University Student Advice Centre took on extra staff to deal with the number of complaints about him.”