A Sheffield woman has been fined almost £10,000 for illegally sub-letting her council house, while she was living in a housing association property nearby.
Haffiza Khan, 49, sub-let her council tenancy at Brightmore Drive, Netherthorpe while living in a South Yorkshire Housing Association property nearby.
Khan pleaded guilty to unlawfully subletting her council tenancy at Brightmore Drive during a hearing at Sheffield Magistrates' Court on Tuesday.
She pleaded guilty and received a 12-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay back £8740 for unlawfully subletting as well as £150 costs in costs and a victim surcharge of £20.
Mrs Khan gave notice on her council tenancy in December last year following an interview under caution where evidence of the sub-letting allegation was presented to her.
Councillor Jim Steinke, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said: “Social housing provides security and stability to millions of families.
“There is an ever-increasing demand for social housing and Sheffield City Council is committed to investigating all suspected cases of tenancy fraud to ensure properties are lawfully occupied.
“We are pleased that Mrs Khan acknowledged her wrong-doing at an early opportunity and hope this sentence will discourage others from profiting in this way, enabling homes to go to the people who need them most.”
Unlawful subletting is when a tenant lets out their council home without the knowledge or permission of their local authority or landlord.
The tenant will often continue to pay rent whilst charging the sub-tenant a much higher rent and may also have requested the sub-tenant pay a ‘bond’, something which a local authority does not request of its tenants.
Subletting a council tenancy is in breach of the Council’s Conditions of Tenancy and is also a criminal offence covered by the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013. As a result of this legislation those found guilty of unlawfully subletting a Council tenancy can face hefty fines, a criminal record and in extreme cases a possible prison sentence.
Sheffield City Council has a zero tolerance of this offence and if found guilty the offender will also be excluded from the Council’s rehousing registration list.
Should anyone have information about a Council tenancy being sublet we would request they contact Sheffield City Council and all reports are dealt with in confidence.