Tenant gets suspended jail sentence for renting out social-housing flat in Poplar
PUBLISHED: 09:28 27 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:28 01 March 2017
A tenant who illegally sublet his social-rent flat for seven years in London’s East End with its chronic housing shortage has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Kibria Ahmed had rented out his flat in the five-storey Donne House in Dod Street in Poplar, near the A12 Blackwall Tunnel Approach, since 2010.
But the 30-year-old was finally exposed by the Poplar Harca Housing landlords which traced him living at his parents’ home off Burdett Road, half-a-mile away, where he was living brefore switching again to his brother’s home.
But all the time he sublet the tenancy he had been given at Donne House on Poplar’s Lansbury East Estate, Basildon Crown Court hard.
This was the Harca’s first criminal prosecution under a recent change in the law upgrading illegal subletting, previously treated as a civil matter, as housing fraud.
“He thought he was getting away with it—and did for too long,” Harca’s counter fraud manager Avril Drummond said. “He is paying the price of defrauding families on the Housing List all waiting for a home. This crime has real impact on many tenants waiting to move.”
Ahmed was prosecuted through Thurrock Council in Essex, which is Harca’s affiliated partner for legal actions.
He was sentenced to 12 months, suspended for two years, when he appeared in court last Wednesday, admitting two charges of housing fraud. He was also given 120 hours unpaid community work.
The housing organisation is now investigating 17 more cases where tenancy irregularities are suspected.
There are almost 20,000 families on the Tower Hamlets waiting list.