Housing tenant prosecuted for tenancy fraud
A three-year investigation by Haringey Council has seen a housing tenant prosecuted for tenancy fraud and will have to pay £33,894.58 (including costs), arising from a separate civil proceeding in September 2022.
The costs included an unlawful profit order as the tenant had financially benefited from sub-letting the property to an unsuspecting family for a monthly rent of £900 per month.
Miriam Bailor became a tenant at 174 Northumberland Park, London, N17 0SW in October 1998 and initially lived at this address until she vacated in December 2017 in order to sub-let the property.
Though Miriam Bailor had pleaded not guilty at Highbury Corner Magistrates Court, an extensive investigation by Haringey Council’s Audit and Anti-Fraud team showed that Miriam Bailor was not occupying her tenancy address and that other persons were living there in her absence.
During the trial at Highbury and Islington Magistrates Court she repeatedly lied about where she was living. The two-day trial found Miriam Bailor guilty of unlawfully subletting her property, contrary to section 1 (1) Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 and sanctioned recovery of any profit made by illegally subletting the property.
Concerns were initially raised with the Audit and Anti-Fraud team when a contractor suspected that Miriam Bailor was not living 174 Northumberland Park and that another family was living at the address in her absence.
Miss Bailor was interviewed under caution by officers from Haringey Council Investigations team where all available evidence was presented to her. Throughout the interview she maintained that she was living at the tenancy address and claimed that any money she received from the sub-tenants was in respect of childcare that she was providing for them.
The district judge said
“….What you did was clearly intentional and done for profit. As for harm, behaviour such as yours undermines the system used by local authorities to grant secure tenancies, and I full well understand why parliament introduced an Act such as this because it’s there to deter people from misusing housing when they have been lucky enough to receive a council tenancy…”
Cllr Williams, Cabinet Member for Finance and Local Investment said:
“I hope this case serves as a reminder to those who are thinking they are above the law. We will not hesitate to act against anyone caught making fraudulent claims. Haringey Council has a zero tolerance to fraud and corruption.
“For years, Miriam Bailor cheated the housing system and thought she would get away with it. Haringey, like a lot of local authorities has a huge demand for social housing and people like Miriam Bailor deny families a decent home. I am delighted we have recovered this property and will now let it to a family in genuine need.”
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