A joint investigation between Brent Council and Genesis Housing Association has resulted in a successful prosecution by Brent of a tenant who unlawfully sub-let his social housing home.
Mark Grant (49) from Willesden was found guilty of the offence of dishonestly sub-letting his two bedroom Genesis Housing Association tenancy in Melrose Avenue whilst living in Luton. On 13 October 2016 Brent Magistrates Court ordered him to carry out 200 hours of community service. An unlawful profit order was made in the sum of £14,760 and Mr Grant was also ordered to pay costs of £1,074.
On 17 October, Willesden County Court granted Genesis a possession order against Mr Grant to recover the two bedroom property. He was ordered to pay an additional £481.75 in costs and a money judgement of £5,638.79 for rent arrears.
The fraud was uncovered when Mr Grant advertised his property for rent on the Gumtree website and provided an unlawful tenancy agreement to the unsuspecting family. The family contacted Genesis when their heating broke down and the fraud was discovered. Genesis referred the case to Brent Council's Audit and Investigations team who worked with Genesis to collect evidence and bring the case to court.
Leader of Brent Council, Councillor Muhammed Butt, said:
"We are listening to the concerns of our residents who tell us that lack of affordable housing in the Borough is one of their top concerns. This prosecution shows that we will not tolerate fraud in the much needed social housing sector."
Brent Council's deputy leader and lead Member for Finance, Councillor Margaret McLennan, said:
"Unlawful sub-letting deprives vulnerable families of desperately needed and scarce housing. I'm absolutely delighted that officers' hard work has brought the property back into social use.
"We'll press to recover all of the unlawfully earned money, and for the most severe penalties against anyone else who abuses social housing this way."
Head of Genesis Housing Association, Richard Bellis, said:
"This sentencing sends a strong message that unlawful subletting is not to be tolerated and carries serious consequences for those who attempt to abuse the system. Thanks to the excellent joint working between Genesis and Brent Council, a property has once again been made available for people in genuine housing need."