Leeds ,

Landmark legal case against housing association tenant who advertised home to rent on web

A tenant who used the web to illegally sub-let his housing association house in Leeds has pleaded guilty to tenancy fraud as part of a landmark case.

In the first criminal prosecution taken by Leeds City Council under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act, Leeds Magistrates Court heard that Mr Kolawole Oladimeji moved into another property and rented his tenancy to an unsuspecting family for a profit. He advertised it on a free internet classified web page, issued a fake tenancy agreement and even obtained £1500 rent in advance and a deposit.

Chevin Housing uncovered the situation shortly afterwards and alerted the council. Following a joint investigation by the council and Chevin Housing, a decision was taken to prosecute through the courts.

After pleading guilty, Mr Oladimeji was ordered, to pay a fine and costs amounting to £784.17 and also pay back through an Unlawful Profit Order £355, bringing the total costs to £1139.17. Money which was received through asking for rent in advance and a deposit had already been paid back.

The case brings the total number of homes recovered through the council’s tenancy fraud initiative to over 200.

Leeds City Council’s executive board member for communities Councillor Debra Coupar said:

“This landmark case demonstrates the steps we are willing to take with local housing associations to tackle tenancy fraud in our city.

“Social housing is for genuine applicants who need a safe and secure home. When a tenant sublets their property it deprives another family on the waiting list of a home.

“This case should serve as a warning to anyone who thinks they can profit from committing tenancy fraud that we are watching closely and strong action will be taken if an offence is found to have taken place.”

Notes to editor:

The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act applies to council and housing association tenants, and introduced criminal offences where a tenant sublets their home.

To report tenancy fraud, please see: www.leeds.gov.uk/housingfraud

For media enquiries, please contact;

Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office, (0113) 39 51578

Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk