We have successfully secured our first criminal prosecution for illegal subletting in Dacorum under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013, making subletting of social housing a criminal offence.
Working closely with colleagues from Hightown Housing Association and our Legal Governance Department, our Fraud team conducted a detailed investigation that proved Nicholas Couldridge was not living at his Hightown Housing Association address and had been unlawfully subletting the property to a third party.
At St Albans Magistrates' Court on 18 October 2017, Mr Couldridge, 41, of The Bourne, Bovingdon, was found guilty of subletting his property and fined £1,600 and ordered to pay a surcharge of £160, an unlawful profit order of £5,000 and costs of £405.
Councillor Margaret Griffiths, Portfolio Holder for Housing, said: "This case sends a clear message to the people of Dacorum that we will take a zero-tolerance approach to the illegal subletting of social housing properties. There isn't enough social housing for people who genuinely need it, so it is essential we make the best use of the housing that is available by making sure it is occupied by those who are legally entitled to do so."
We actively seek prosecution against those who abuse the system and commit fraud. This case is part of our ongoing action to combat offenders. We publicise offenders' details to help deter those who may consider defrauding the taxpayer.
Anyone that has information on those committing social housing fraud in Dacorum are urged to call our confidential anti-fraud hotline number on 01442 228291 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.