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Taking a strong stance against unlawful subletting

Posted on 09 February 2021

Our Tenancy Enforcement team successfully obtained a £81,000 money Judgement against a former tenant.

A call to our Customer Services team by a subtenant back in October 2019 about a repairs issue, raised the suspicion of a Lambeth resident subletting. This was immediately investigated by a Hyde Tenancy Officer. Enquiries were made by contacting the local authority and the Tenancy Officer established that the tenant was living abroad and had not lived at the address for several years. We were also able to obtain substantial evidence of rent payments and other relevant information from the subtenants.

Our Tenancy Team ensured that a notice to quit followed. The tenant then contacted us asking us not to seek possession of the property as he required the tenancy to be able to claim his benefits and for health reasons. This was despite the fact that he owned and resided at his property abroad as his main home.

Batchelors Solicitors were instructed to act on our behalf with regards to the court proceedings. The possession claim was on the basis of unlawful subletting since at least March 2014. Although the tenant surrendered the tenancy in November 2020, Batchelors proceeded to seek a money Judgment for the arrears, unlawful profit order and costs.

The court hearing was held on 2 February 2021 and the judge was satisfied that the former tenant had unlawfully sublet the property and was ordered to pay Hyde over £81,000 by 16 February 2021. If he does not pay by this date, further interest will accrue at £17.79 per day. 

Tenancy Team Manager, Bankole Payne said: “This case demonstrates our tenacity in pursuing this case, despite the challenges involved when investigating and obtaining appropriate evidence. Well done to the Tenancy Enforcement team on working so hard in bringing this case to a successful conclusion!

“This successful outcome demonstrates the team’s commitment in pursuing fraud cases – which is vital given the high demand for social housing. The two-bedroom property will now be available to let again to a more deserving family in need.”

David Gethin, Associate Solicitor, Batchelors Solicitors, said: “It is always extremely satisfying to work with a proactive housing association like Hyde who take a strong stance in dealing with tenants who abuse the benefit of having a social housing tenancy, particularly during a pandemic. We are very pleased to have achieved such a good result with Hyde.”

Hyde is now seeking further legal advice about the viability of enforcing of the Judgement on the basis that the former tenant owns a property abroad.

Residents are the eyes and ears of our estates. Tenancy Fraud is a criminal offence and something we take very seriously. If you suspect it, report it. Please contact the Customer Services team on 0800 3282 282 or contact us online.