Council takes back house over tenancy fraud

A council house that was illegally sub-let has been taken back by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council following a court ruling.

council building

Allegations were received in June 2017 that a property in Hatfield was being illegally sub-let and the council began to investigate, before possession proceedings were started in April 2018.

The tenant listed at the property, Mr Steane, gave an inconsistent account of his movements, and evidence showed that he did not spend any nights at the property while the individual he sub-let the house to, was living there, instead living away. It was also established that money paid to the defendant by his tenant every month was specifically for rent of the property (and not for example, repayment of a loan).

On hearing all the evidence, Luton County Court was satisfied that Mr Steane had clearly breached his tenancy in sub-letting the house illegally and gave an order allowing the council to take back possession of the property.

The defendant had also built up considerable rent arrears, having not paid the rent lawfully due to the council while sub-letting the property. The judge therefore made an order for the rent arrears to be paid back to the council.

Simone Russell, Corporate Director at Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, said:

With his actions Mr Steane deliberately defrauded the council. Council housing within the borough, and especially four bed homes, are in short supply. We take a hard line with people who illegally sub-let and use the system for their own gain.

The possession order reflects our determination to do everything we can to ensure that the system is kept fair and just for all our tenants and people on the housing waiting list, to prevent this kind of activity happening again.