17 Oct 2017

200 hours' unpaid work for woman who illegally sublet council flat

A woman who pleaded guilty to dishonestly subletting her council flat is set to be stripped of the unlawful profit she made and will have to do 200 hours unpaid community work.

Suzie Litanda pleaded guilty at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court to twice subletting the whole of a council studio flat in Leather Lane between December 2013 and February 2016 and July and September 2016. During these periods she was living with her mother in a four bedroom council property, while charging the sub-tenants up to £850 a month in rent.

It's not obvious how you could sublet less than the whole of a studio flat - but "whole of" is becoming a legal quibble.

While recognising mitigating personal circumstances, the court considered the sub-letting offences under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 to be serious and ordered Ms Litanda to pay £600 costs in addition to the community service. Camden Council is now issuing civil proceedings to recover the £19,000 profit she made from the illegal sub-letting.

Magistrates should be able to make this order at the time - after all, it would have been the main penalty.

Councillor Meric Apak, Cabinet Member for Better Homes at Camden Council, said: “At a time of widespread calls for a national council house building programme, as many families struggle to find or afford suitable homes, it is both illegal and inexcusable for people to be profiting from subletting council homes that could be used by a family in need. I want to assure Camden residents we are committed to building a range of social and affordable housing through our Community Investment Programme and keeping our current council homes out of the hands of profiteers by taking those we suspect of breaking the rules to court.”


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