Win for Peabody Tenancy Fraud team
Peabody continues to crack down on tenants who illegally sublet.
A Peabody tenant who pretended to live in a 4-bedroom home in Lambeth for more than 10 years, while illegally subletting, has been convicted of fraud at the Inner Court in London.
Mrs A, formally of Trust Walk, Dulwich was sentenced to a year in prison, suspended for two years, and given 200 hours community service. The Judge said the cost to the public amounted to £92,000.
The fraud was discovered following a joint investigation between Peabody and Lambeth Council.
The teams discovered that Mrs A bought a property in Milton Keynes in 2001 and had lived there since that date.
As well as being employed by Milton Keynes council, further checks found she was registered with a GP in the town, had applied for her passport from there, and had her bank accounts registered in Milton Keynes.
At the same time she was subletting the Peabody property in Lambeth to various different people.
Checks also show she enquired about buying the Peabody home in 2012.
Tenancy Fraud team successes
In the last three years Peabody has recovered over 300 properties from illegal sub-letters, freeing the homes up for families in genuine need.
Andrew Jeffries, Peabody Tenancy Fraud Manager, said:
"At a time of significant demand for social housing it is totally unacceptable for someone not to be living in their home and renting it out while there are so many people out there in genuine need.
"This investigation has freed up a much needed home and sends out the very clear message that anyone trying to cheat the system will ultimately be caught and may be prosecuted."
Cllr Paul McGlone, Lambeth Deputy Leader and Cabinet member for Finance said:
"This successful prosecution should serve as a reminder that Lambeth Council is determined to crack down on fraud.
"It's an excellent example of working with our partners to bring criminals to justice."
Tenancy Fraud Act
Unlawful subletting of a social housing property became a criminal offence under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013, and housing associations, as well as bringing about proceedings themselves, can authorise a local authority to take action on their behalf.
Those convicted can expect up to two years in prison and/or a fine of up to £50,000. The courts also have the power to order the tenant to pay back profits made from the illegal subletting.
Tenancy fraud is thought to cost housing associations and local authorities around £955m a year.
Do you suspect illegal subletting?
There are thousands of Londoners on affordable housing waiting lists. Making a profit from illegally subletting a Peabody property is criminal offence.Report illegal subletting