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Crooked estate agent must pay back illegal subletting gains

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Crooked estate agent must pay back illegal subletting gains

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Legal, Local Government

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An estate agent who committed housing fraud has been found guilty of illegal subletting.

Following a Southwark Council-led investigation, Mans Kanu, an employee of one of London’s leading estate and letting agencies, was found to be illegally subletting his council owned property in Walworth, Southwark.

Legal proceedings was taken against Kanu under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 and he was ordered to pay back over £7,000 as a part of a mutual agreement settled in Lambeth County Court.

Alarm bells were first raised about the property by a Southwark housing officer last year.

The suspicions were then confirmed following an unannounced visit where various IDs and proof of address documents were found in two separate names. A signed tenancy agreement between Kanu and the unauthorised occupants and bank statements showing £1,000 being deposited into his bank account were also found.

During the investigation, Kanu terminated his tenancy and the unauthorised occupants left the property and the keys were returned to the council a week before the court hearing.

Councillor Richard Livingstone said: "It is unacceptable that some people still feel that it’s reasonable to abuse their tenancies and illegally sublet their homes. Our long waiting lists for council housing mean that each and every home is precious and cannot be used as a money making machine. It is also hard to believe that a professional lettings agent would not have known in April 2013 that the subletting of social housing was being made a criminal offence'.

"Anyone who makes the mistake of illegally renting their council home runs the real risk of not only losing their tenancy for good but of serious legal action, as Mr Kanu has found out. Our award-winning fraud team is dedicated to getting illegally sublet homes back and giving them to people in real need.

Councillor Livingstone, added: "It’s also important for tenants to be wary of who they’re renting a property from. If your landlord is illegally subletting the property to you then not only will you face eviction but you may also be liable to a fine."

This case marks the latest in the council’s crack down on illegal subletting. The largest local authority social landlord has taken back 901 illegally sublet homes over the last three years – the highest in the country.

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