Council tenant fined for subletting

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A man who sublet his social housing property has been prosecuted by Bedford Borough Council.

Michael Reynolds, 66, was found guilty of subletting his bpha home in Milburn Road, under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013.

The Council’s Investigations Team found Mr Reynolds had moved out of his bpha property in March 2013 to live with his partner in South Wales, and had subsequently sublet the home to his daughter and her partner.

The court heard that Reynolds had no right to sublet the property, which should have been returned to the housing association when he moved.

Mr Reynolds was given a one-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £626.10 plus £200 in legal costs. The property has been returned to bpha.

Cllr Michael Headley, Portfolio Holder for Finance at Bedford Borough Council, said: “When people sublet their social housing properties they are directly depriving a family in need of a home. By investigating these matters the Council is able to make more properties available to provide safe and secure homes for those in need.

“The Council and bpha will not stand for abuse and fraud within the social housing system and will take action against those found to be subletting or lying to obtain properties.”

George Parkinson, Head of Housing Management at bpha, said: “Social housing is a limited resource in Bedfordshire and tenancy fraud, such as subletting, deprives people who are in genuine need of a home. We are pleased with the outcome of this case, and the property will now go to a family most in need on the Housing Register.”

Residents wishing to report somebody who may be illegally subletting or is not living in their home can do so in complete confidence by calling the Council’s dedicated fraud hotline on 0800 917 849, filling in a form online at www.bedford.gov.uk or downloading the Bedford Fraud App.