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2 Jan 2020

Council tenant in illegal sub-letting and right to buy frauds

A council tenant who had applied to purchase his rented home through the Right to Buy scheme has been convicted of illegally subletting it to his children.

Waltham Forest Council tenant, Uwe Werner, 55, applied to buy his Leytonstone property through the Right to Buy scheme, entitling him to a £108,000 discount.

However, the council’s Corporate Anti-Fraud Team established Werner was not living in the Sansom Road property but was in fact renting in Braintree, Essex.

Werner had been subletting the Leytonstone property to his two adult children over a three-and-a-half-year period between January 2015 and June 2018.

Werner was convicted at Snaresbrook Crown Court of illegally subletting the property and handed a two-year suspended prison sentence.

In mitigation Werner explained that his circumstances had changed in 2014 when his work led him to move to Braintree with his wife and youngest children, and so he made the improper decision to illegally sublet the Sansom Road property to his adult children, making a profit of £5226.00.

In his sentencing remarks, Judge Pounder said: “You were originally a legitimate tenant, but your criminal liability is you took a decision which was the wrong decision.”

Judge Pounder also imposed an Unlawful Profit Order for the full amount by which he profited from subletting his council property.

Werner must now vacate the address or the council will instigate civil proceedings to terminate the tenancy.

A council spokesperson said: “Waltham Forest Council is committed to fighting corruption and dishonesty. Combatting tenancy fraud is high on our agenda as we work to ensure that our properties are made available for those who have a genuine need for them.

“We hope this case sends a clear message – we will fully investigate any suspected cases of tenancy fraud and those found guilty may be required to vacate their homes as Mr Werner will now have to.

“This property will now be used to provide a decent roof over the head of a new family, giving them the security and stability they need to make the most of their life chances in Waltham Forest.”

Source

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