A young family have started 2023 in their new permanent home after Kensington and Chelsea Council recovered the property from an illegal sub-letter.
The family were able to move into the two-bedroom home in North Kensington after a Council investigation revealed that the previous tenant had been sub-letting the property since 2010 and was living overseas.
In addition to freeing up a much-needed Council home for a local family, the action resulted in the previous tenant being served with a court order requiring them to return £34,000 of illegal profit to the local authority.
The action is the latest success for the Council’s housing investigations team, which earlier in 2022 recovered four illegally sublet properties in one week. Tenancy fraud deprives those on the housing list in genuine need of a home and each case is estimated to cost the public purse £42,000 on average.
Cllr Kim Taylor-Smith, Lead Member for Housing, said:
“It’s hard to think of a better way to start a new year than moving into a safe, permanent place home and I’m really proud that our housing fraud team have helped to deliver that for this family.
“Housing fraud is not a victimless crime and every person cheating the system to make a fast buck is depriving a family like this of a home to call their own.”
The fraud came to light in January 2022 when the property’s sub-tenant approached the Council’s homelessness team because she suspected that the tenant had stopped paying bills.
Further investigation revealed that the tenant was living outside of the country and was receiving money from the sub-tenant each month.
In addition to taking action against the tenant to recover the property and illegal profits, the Council’s housing team worked to support the innocent sub-tenant into alternative accommodation.
If you know of, or suspect, anyone committing tenancy fraud in Kensington and Chelsea, you can contact the Council’s Housing Investigations Team on 020 7605 6401 or email [email protected].