A tenant who sublet her council home has been ordered to do 200 hours’ unpaid work and pay £600 costs – as well as facing civil proceedings to recover the profit she made.
Suzie Litanda pleaded guilty at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court earlier this month to twice subletting her Leather Lane, London council flat between December 2013 and February 2016 and July and September 2016 – equating to around £19,000 profit.
During these periods Litanda was living with her mother in a four bedroom council property, while charging the sub-tenants up to £850 a month in rent.
Cllr Meric Apak, Cabinet member for Better Homes at Camden Council, said: “At a time of widespread calls for a national council house building programme, as many families struggle to find or afford suitable homes, it is both illegal and inexcusable for people to be profiting from subletting council homes that could be used by a family in need.
“I want to assure Camden residents we are committed to building a range of social and affordable housing through our Community Investment Programme and keeping our current council homes out of the hands of profiteers by taking those we suspect of breaking the rules to court.”
According to online newspaper LandlordToday, Camden Council is now issuing civil proceedings to recover the £19,000 profit she made from the illegal sub-letting. This has raised the question as to why private landlords are not offered the same rights.
Subletting social housing is a criminal offence under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013, punishable by hefty fines and prison sentences of up to two years.
In the private rental sector, however, a tenant typically needs their landlord’s consent before they can sublet their home. Failure to do so risks breaking the term of their tenancy agreement meaning a private landlord can take action to evict their tenant.