A couple who pretended to be homeless were convicted of fraud at Luton Magistrates Court on Thursday.
Samuel Jackson, 41, and Elizabeth Mahia, 35, of Whipperley Way, were sentenced to 26 weeks imprisonment each, suspended for 18 months, and 100 hours unpaid work for both of them.
They will also have to pay £500 towards Luton council’s costs.
The pair used forged documents while making a homeless application to the council, and made false statements under the Fraud Act 2006.
They claimed the property they lived in in the Republic of Ireland was being repossessed as their landlord had not paid the mortgage, and he required them to leave the property.
They gave a false name for their landlord and a false address, but the genuine landlord was traced and he gave evidence against them at the trial.
The couple pleaded not guilty.
Cllr Tom Shaw, Portfolio Holder for housing, said: “It is widely known that there is a severe shortage of housing in Luton and here we have two people trying to selfishly cheat the system and take a home away from someone who really needs it.
“This is a criminal act that we simply cannot tolerate and is exactly why we took the action we did. We would have no hesitation in taking the same action against anyone who attempts something similar.”