Subletting case ends in victory for council
16th March 2012
A team of in-house lawyers representing the City of Westminster Council has won a landmark victory in an illegal subletting case, resulting in the defendant being imprisoned for 16 weeks.
The council had taken action against Herminio Nascimento, who was an official tenant at a property in the Westbourne Park Estate in central London but actually lived in a house he owned with his partner in Crawley, Sussex.
Chairman of the Westminster Council housing benefit fraud division, Councillor Lindsay Hall, explained that, whilst the judgement was welcome, it was important that the government allowed local authorities to do more to tackle abuse of the social housing system by unscrupulous tenants.
Observed with interest by those in law recruitment and beyond, the ruling is representative of the crackdown which is currently taking place on people who unlawfully sublet property – a practice which is estimated to currently cost the British taxpayer £5bn every year.