A COUNCIL tenant has been fined in one of the first criminal prosecutions of its kind after she admitted sub-letting her local authority-owned property in one of Yorkshire’s housing hotspots.
Beatrice Stanford was prosecuted under the Fraud Act for sub-letting her council home in York after an inquiry was launched by specialist investigators. York Council and Veritau, the firm which provides the authority’s fraud investigation service, were alerted in January to an illegal subletting of the property. The council’s waiting list has more than 4,000 people wanting council accommodation.
Stanford, 43, who now lives in Bielby in East Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to the offence and was sentenced by York magistrates to a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £425 in costs. She had been a council tenant at the address since 2006.
The council’s cabinet member for housing, Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing, said: “This case sends a clear message to the people of York that the council will take a zero tolerance approach to the illegal subletting of council properties.”
Stanford had been sub-letting the property to a tenant, who thought they had entered into a legitimate arrangement, since November 2009 when she went to live in Bielby. She had charged the tenant £450 a month in rent, but the figure rose to £520 to include utility bills. The actual rent charged by the council to Stanford was £350 per month.