Lambeth sublet ‘cheat’ prosecuted under new council powers

A woman who illegally sublet a council flat has been prosecuted under a new law against ‘unlawful profit order’ and ordered to repay more than £23,000 to Lambeth Council.

The woman has also been ordered to return the Poynders Garden property to the council after the fraud team discovered she was subletting to three tenants in 2013 and receiving rent significantly higher than what was charged by the council.

It’s the first time the council has used the new order that came into force last year under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud act.

Although the tenant denied subletting and defended the case she was found guilty in a case the judge said would ‘horrify’ decent residents.

Local councils now have far-reaching powers to prosecute tenancy fraudsters and recover the profits of illegal subletting, in this case profits were judged to be £11,642.59 which the tenant has been ordered to pay back.

The woman was also asked to pay an additional £12,000 in costs by the judge at Wandsworth County Court.

In summing up, Judge Hugman said: “Any decent honest Lambeth resident would be horrified that someone could behave that way and cheat society.”

Cllr Matthew Bennett, Cabinet member for Housing said; “ The judge is absolutely right and this case should send a message to frauds and cheats that our fraud team will track them down.”

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