Subletting could cost you your home

A tenant who was sub-letting his Plus Dane home has lost a court case, his tenancy, and must pay thousands of pounds in legal costs.

Housing officers are warning that anyone suspected of profiting from renting out their Plus Dane property to someone else will be fully investigated, and could meet the same fate. This most recent court case concerned a man who was not living at the three-bedroom Toxteth address kept under his name, but in an expensive home he owned in another area.

Suspicions the registered tenant wasn’t using the property as his main or principal home were raised several times over a number of years. Staff reported finding it difficult to access the property when legally required, like for annual gas safety checks, and noted a number of different occupiers. Plus Dane gathered evidence for more than a year before the case was strong enough to take to court – a process that took a further four months. Unbelievably, it came to light the property had been advertised, by the tenant, as available for rent on the website RightMove three times. After a two day trial at civil court, the tenant was found guilty of subletting. He was ordered to leave the property, and Plus Dane was awarded costs.

“This has been a difficult case, but we are delighted with this outcome,” said Housing Manager Ali Phillipson. “We are not complacent about taking a case all the way to court - there is a huge amount at stake if we lose. It is a difficult and time-consuming process, and our housing officer Karen Buttery and other colleagues worked very hard to gather the evidence we needed. Plus Dane will not tolerate subletting - we will investigate every report we receive thoroughly.”

Subletting a housing association property for profit is unfair, and undermines the system in place for allocating homes to those most in need. It is considered a breach of tenancy, and could be taken all the way through the civil court system. If tenants in receipt of benefits are making money through subletting, this is benefit fraud - a criminal offence that could be a matter for the police. If you suspect a neighbour may be subletting a property, contact your housing officer