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Showing posts with label Unlawful Profit Order. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Unlawful Profit Order. Show all posts

14 Feb 2020

Unlawful Profit Order for illegal subletting

A council tenant illegally sublet his Walthamstow flat for five years while living in Warrington with his partner and children.

Oluwajare Adegbuyi was caught illegally subletting the flat in Stocksfield Road following a Waltham Forest council anti-fraud team investigation in partnership with Warrington Borough Council.

Officers discovered the occupier of the Stocksfield Road property was not the rightful tenant; Adegbuyi found to also be registered as the tenant of a council property in Warrington.

At Thames Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, January 23, the defendant claimed he had moved to Warrington to be with his partner and their two children.

He said he had let his aunt live in the flat, and then subsequently let it to other tenants because he was not sure if he would return and did not wish to give up his council property.

Adegbuyi pled guilty to dishonestly sub-letting and the judge imposed an unlawful profit order, compelling him to pay back money he received from subletting the property.

He was fined £130 and ordered to pay back £846. Waltham Forest Council was also awarded full legal costs – Adegbuyi will have to pay in excess of £2,500 in total.

The property has since been returned to the council and made available to house an individual previously on the waiting list.

Cllr Louise Mitchell, cabinet member for housing and homelessness prevention, said: “Illegal subletting is not a victimless crime. It denies homes to people and families who are in genuine need of them. We will always push for the highest penalties in instances of fraud, although the courts will make the final decision.

“This is an excellent example of our housing officers and anti-fraud team working together to ensure the people who live in our properties are the rightful and legal tenants.”

Source

27 Feb 2017

Another unlawful profit order for illegal sub-letting

A Council tenant has been ordered to pay almost £3,000 by way of an Unlawful Profit Order in addition to a further £2,914 in costs to the Council - after letting out his property on the website AirBnB. (h/t Tenancy Fraud)

Peter John Wootton, aged 46, of Coastguard Flats, West Looe, was due to appear at Bodmin Magistrates Court on Wednesday 22 February, but failed to attend. As a result, the Magistrates agreed to hear the case in his absence.

During the hearing, the court heard that the Council's Corporate Fraud Investigations Team began investigating Mr Wootton in July 2016 after receiving an anonymous tip off that he had been advertising his property on the website AirBnB. Under the terms of Mr Wootton's tenancy with Cornwall Housing Ltd he did not have permission to sub-let the property.

Further investigations identified 10 instances where payments were made to Mr Wootton, totalling £2,958.

The court heard that a number of attempts had been made to interview Mr Wootton under caution. He eventually attended for interview in November 2016 but decided that he did not want to stay or be shown the various items of documentary evidence. He later sent the Council a short handwritten statement stating that during the summer he had had people staying who he classed as lodgers.

After hearing the case, Magistrates found Mr Wootton guilty of an offence under Section 1 of the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act for sub-letting and parting with possession of his whole dwelling house, ceasing to occupy it as his only or principal home.

Kevin Hill, prosecuting for Cornwall Council, then presented the Court with a Section 4 Notice under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act for an Unlawful Profit Order to the value of £2,958.

The Magistrates awarded full payment of the Unlawful Profit Order of £2,958.00 and, in addition, granted the Council's application for investigation and legal costs totalling £2,914.00. This amount covered the costs of investigating the matter and bringing it before the Court.

Following the conviction, Pete Jarman, Landlord Services Director for Cornwall Housing Ltd, said: "Cornwall Housing Ltd. takes tenancy fraud very seriously and works closely in partnership with Cornwall Council's Corporate Fraud team to identify, investigate and potentially prosecute cases of tenancy fraud. It is important that such a scarce resource as social housing goes to individuals and families who are in genuine housing need."

Simba Muzarurwi, Cornwall Council's Head of Internal Audit and Risk, said: "Our team of professional investigators continue to work with Cornwall Housing Ltd to combat fraud. The Council has a zero tolerance policy on all forms of fraud so the Corporate Counter Fraud Team will leave no stone unturned to ensure that those responsible for perpetrating fraud are brought to book. By continuous checking and investigation of anomalies in information supplied by tenants and potential tenants, we can help ensure that housing in Cornwall is allocated to those in most need."

Source

Despite the brave words, this is another case where the housing provider only found out about the illegal sub-letting through an anonymous tip-off.

24 Feb 2017

Woman sentenced for illegal sub-letting

Ingrid Schultz, 65, travelled abroad, dined out at restaurants and splashed out on shopping sprees after pocketing £10,000 over five years.

The ruse was uncovered by an anonymous telephone call to Genesis Housing Association from someone commenting on the turnover of subtenants at the property in Burton Road, Kilburn.

Genesis referred the case to Brent Council’s Audit and Investigation Team who started collecting evidence on Schultz.

They found she had been illegally subletting the property between March 2010 and November 2015 while living in a neighbouring borough and illegally renting out the loft.

At the expense of taxpayers, Schultz used the profits to finance holidays, meals out and shopping trips.

She pleaded guilty to subletting the property over five years at Harrow Crown Court on February 16 and was handed a 12-month prison term, suspended for two years.

Schultz was served with an unlawful profit order - which requires a landlord to be paid any profit gained from the subletting - in the sum of £10,823 to be paid at the rate of £350 per month.

She was also ordered to pay £1,000 costs along with a £100 surcharge.

Source

This went on under the Housing Association's nose for more than five years. They didn't even spot it themselves, it was only a tip off that brought it to their attention.

How much more illegal subletting have Genesis Housing Association not picked up on? Do they even try? Should this not be part of their job?