47 unlawfully sublet council properties snatched back by Tower Hamlets

Nearly 50 unlawfully sub-set council properties have been snatch back in London’s East End in the past 12 months, it has emerged.

Tower Hamlets Council repossessed 47 properties after using computer data matching programmes comparing things like utility bills with tenancy registration.

Now measures are being stepped up to recover more properties in the face of the East End’s long housing waiting list with 20,000 families in the queue.

“We’re committed to tacking this tenancy fraud,” said a Town Hall spokesman. “This helps protect the housing services we provide.”

The authority is now using new legislation to repossess any flats or houses found to be misused for subletting.

Now penalties have been brought in under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act which came into force in October. Anyone found guilty of tenancy fraud now faces a fine and possible jail sentence up to two years.

The new Act, applied to all social housing tenants, makes it illegal to sublet or move out of a property knowing it is a breach of tenancy, carrying a maximum £5,000 fine for a first offence.

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It is also now illegal to dishonestly sublet without consent or to stop occupying the property as the only or main home, with a two-year sentence or fine up to £50,000.