Shahadat Ali, aged 25, late of Radnor Road, Luton pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and unlawful sub-letting in relation to his council property when he appeared before Luton Magistrates on Friday.
An investigation by the Hertfordshire Shared Anti-Fraud Service (SAFS) on behalf of the council uncovered that Ali had started sub-letting his 1 bedroom flat at Thricknells Close, Marsh Farm, just months after he was allocated the property in 2017.
He sub-let his council home to multiple sub-tenants over three years, while he lived elsewhere and used two local lettings agents to rent out the property, claiming he owned the property, and charging the tenants more than the rent he paid to the council.
He also submitted a Right to Buy application for property where he claimed he was living at the flat as his main home.
Luton Council had started civil proceedings during which Ali surrendered the property back to the council before the hearing.
He was sentenced to a three-month community order and curfew. An Unlawful Profit Order was also made and he is required to pay the sum of £7,941.60 to the council in addition to £4,669.31 in costs.
In an unrelated matter another council tenant also summonsed for unlawful sub-letting agreed to an out of court settlement by surrendering their property and contributing to the council’s legal costs.
The tenant was attempting to buy the property through the Right to Buy Scheme when it was discovered tit was being unlawfully sub-let. The tenant agreed to surrender the property and reimburse the council’s legal costs.
Councillor Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for housing, said: “At a time when councils are facing increasing pressures to house people it is really galling for those genuinely seeking a place to call their home, to discover others are attempting to deceive local authorities in order to make a profit. Luton Council is committed to doing it all it can to ensure people are honest when they make applications for council housing and if we discover any instance of fraud, we will do all we can to prosecute offenders.”
Fraud can be reported https://m.luton.gov.uk/Page/Show/Council_government_and_democracy/Fraud%20Investigation/Pages/default.aspx">online or to the Shared Anti-Fraud Service at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/spotfraud or by telephone 0300 123 4033 or email [email protected]