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13 May 2015

Enfield prosecutes illegal sub-letter

A local authority has used new laws to prosecute a woman who sublet her home unlawfully.

Former London and Quadrant tenant Yasmine Maya, from Waltham Abbey, pleaded guilty to illegally subletting her L&Q flat in Edmonton as well as admitting other charges in relation to benefit fraud.

She was ordered to undertake 250 hours of unpaid work as well as receiving a sentence of 16 months' imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Unlawful subletting of a social housing property became a criminal offence under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 and Enfield Borough Council has become the first in the UK to prosecute someone.

Investigators from London and Quadrant became suspicious that Ms Maya was not living at her flat in Edmonton, they contacted their counterparts at Enfield Council and a joint investigation was undertaken.

Not only was she found to be subletting the flat illegally but a benefit fraud to the value of £42,000 was also discovered following Ms Maya’s failure to declare income from employment as well as savings held in undeclared bank accounts.

Councillor Andrew Stafford, cabinet member for finance, said: “Enfield Council has broken new ground by being the first local authority to use this new legislation to crack down on a benefit fraudster. Those that profit from sub letting social housing are criminals so I am delighted we have been successful bringing this criminal to book.”

Councillor Ahmet Oykener, cabinet member for housing and estate regeneration, said: “Sub letting a council property denies housing to those most in need in the borough, and also lines the pockets of fraudsters who often let to unsuspecting people, who can then find themselves homeless when the fraud is discovered. Enfield Council regularly makes checks to ensure subletting doesn’t happen in our borough, and if anyone should suspect this is taking place they should report it straight away.”

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