A woman has been ordered to repay more than £155,000 by a court after she was found guilty of illegally letting a housing association flat in south east London for more than 12 years.
Adejoke Patience Ologe let out the two-bedroom flat in Camberwell, which she rented from Riverside housing association.
Ms Ologe had not lived in the flat since at least 2008 and was renting it to two women and their children.
The illegal arrangement sublet was discovered by Oxford City Council’s counter-fraud team, which investigates suspected cases of tenancy fraud on behalf of Riverside.
At Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Court a judge granted Riverside possession of the property. The judge also made an Unlawful Profit Order in the sum of £145,178 together with a demand that Ms Ologe repay £3,000 of rent arrears and £9,955 of legal costs.
The amount was based on the belief that Ms Ologe had received £216,000 over the 12-year period. A spokesperson for Oxford Council said they believed the Unlawful Profit Order was the second largest of its kind ever issued in the UK.
Patrick New, executive director of customer service at Riverside, said: “This was a blatant, dishonest fraud. With social housing in huge demand, it’s vital we pursue such cases in order to make properties available to families and individuals who will act honestly and deserve them.”
Scott Warner, counter-fraud manager at Oxford City Council, said: “This is a landmark case that really demonstrates the value of our partnership working approach with Riverside. Social housing fraud is often seen as a hidden crime but the effect is felt far and wide.
He added: “With the demand for social housing, unlawfully subletting a property means a deserving family are unable to occupy a home and may need to reside in expensive, unsuitable temporary accommodation for longer than is necessary.”
By Patrick Mooney, Editor