7 Feb 2017

Light sentence for illegal sub-letting

A man bought a home in Colchester after he was given a bpha property for himself and his family.

Taslim Goodluck, formerly of Rendlesham Walk, Bedford has been ordered to pay a total of £1,500 after pleading guilty to illegally subletting his bpha house for over two years.

An investigation, conducted by Bedford Borough Council's Investigation Team, found Mr Goodluck purchased his own house in Colchester shortly after obtaining the bpha property for himself and his family. After moving, Mr Goodluck allowed his cousin to live at the address and collected rent from her for over two years.

Mr Goodluck was prosecuted at Luton Crown Court on January 26, 2017, on one count of illegally subletting a social housing property under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013.

The court heard that by committing this offence Mr Goodluck had deprived those genuinely in need of a home, and had allowed his cousin to bypass the housing application process.

Mr Goodluck was ordered to pay a fine of £750 and costs of £750 to Bedford Borough Council.

Portfolio Holder for Finance, Councillor Michael Headley said: "Bedford Borough Council has a strict housing application processes which allows for the fair allocation of social housing to those most in need, and those who attempt to cheat the system can expect to be prosecuted. If you know someone not living in their bpha house; subletting it to someone else; or someone who lied to get their house, then report it to the council to help stamp out tenancy fraud and make sure houses go those most in need."

Social housing fraud is the most wicked type of welfare fraud. Families are deprived of a home they need and often have to be placed in temporary accommodation at great expense. So it must be deterred. Sentences like this don't cut it.

Across the UK it is estimated 98,000 housing association or council homes are occupied by someone who should not live there. They may have obtained their tenancy fraudulently either by unlawful subletting; obtaining a home by deception or wrongly claiming succession after someone dies.

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