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31 Oct 2016

Man punished for illegal sub-letting

A rogue tenant from Essex who illegally sub-let his Erith social housing flat has been ordered to pay more than £5,000 following a ruling at Bexley Magistrates Court.

At a hearing on October 19, Faruq Hameed, from Dagenham, pleaded guilty to two charges of dishonestly sub-letting his social housing flat at Cobham House, Boundary Street.

Evidence collected by investigators showed Hameed was making a profit of almost £200 a month from one sub-letter, charging monthly rent of £650 - significantly higher than the £482.71 charged by Orbit Housing.

The 27-year-old was first granted an assured tenancy on November 12, 2012 by housing agency Orbit Housing, which he held until August 14, 2015.

However, on October 14, 2014, contractors working for Orbit Housing met an occupant at the property who said that Faruq Hameed was the landlord.

A subsequent investigation revealed Hameed was not living at Cobham House but had been sub-letting it to others between May 2014 and December 2015 [2014?], and from January 2015 to August 2015.

For each charge Hameed was given six weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months, to run concurrently; a community order for 80 hours of unpaid work and an Unlawful Profit Order for £4,800. He was also ordered to pay £500 costs and £80 victim surcharge, and a collection order was made.

Bexley’s cabinet member for finance and corporate services Don Massey said: “I am delighted with the successful prosecution. This offence cheats taxpayers and deprives the local authority of resources which could have been used for those with genuine housing need. We will do all we can to ensure that the council’s scarce resources go to genuine claimants.”

Mark Connolly, Orbit’s tenancy fraud officer, added: “This has been an excellent example of working in partnership with the Council to bring criminals to justice. I hope this sends a warning that illegal sub-letting of Orbit properties will not be tolerated. With demand for social housing at an ever increasing level, it is totally unacceptable for a social tenant to sub-let their home while there are so many people with a genuine housing need on the council’s housing register.”

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