A defendant has pleaded guilty to subletting a council property owned by a London borough, after it emerged that he never moved in and had obtained alternative accommodation with a local authority in Yorkshire.
In January 2020, officers from Barking & Dagenham Council received information that Jonathan Green was not living at his two-bedroom flat at Colne House, Barking which he obtained in 2019.
Initial enquiries from council officers established Green’s links to West Yorkshire and it soon came to light that he had secured alternative accommodation with Wakefield District Council.
Council officers finally tracked down Mr Green and, and in an interview, under caution, he admitted that he had never moved into Colne House.
The case went to Barkingside Magistrates Court on 18 January 2022 where the defendant pleaded guilty to one offence under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 and two offences under the Fraud Act 2006.
He was sentenced to a 12-month Community Order of 200 hours of unpaid work, given a £2,800 unlawful profit order, ordered to pay costs of £800 to Barking and Dagenham Council and a £95 Victim Surcharge, totalling £3,695.
The order represented the profit Green made from subletting the flat and Barking & Dagenham is now continuing with steps to recover possession of the Colne House property.
Cllr Dominic Twomey, Barking & Dagenham’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Finance, Performance and Core Services, said: “Council housing stock is in short supply, it is not a right and we have people and families that really need support from us to provide them with a home.
“This individual’s actions have not only prevented someone else from having a home to live in, but he has also illegally earned money out of it. This is something that we take very seriously and if we find out someone is doing it; we will find them and take appropriate action – no matter how long it takes’’.