Guilty: Law graduate who illegally subletted her council flat in Stonebridge
PUBLISHED: 12:26 11 August 2016
A student who illegally sublet her Stonebridge flat while studying and working in Bristol is the first to be prosecuted by Brent Council.
Kusheema Nurse failed to tell her landlord Brent Housing Partnership (BHP), which manages her one-bedroom flat on in Morduant Road on behalf of the council, that she had moved out to study and work in Bristol.
The 26-year-old was given the flat in August 2010, two months after secretly starting a part time job 120 miles away in Bristol where she was studying law.
She was caught out in 2014 when her sub-tenant, who had no tenancy agreement or rent receipts, approached BHP to say he was being evicted by Ms Nurse.
The council’s fraud team discovered an unreported fire in the flat in February 2014 where fire crews rescued a young woman who was friends with the sub tenant but did not know Ms Nurse.
The jury at Harrow Crown Court heard claims that Ms Nurse commuted daily to her flat but did not believe her and delivered a guilty verdict.
She was sentenced to 130 hours of community service, adjourned for three months to allow her to take her final university exams.
BHP is in the process of repossessing her home hoping it will serve as a warning to other council tenants who are illegally profiting from their social housing.
The fraud team is working closely with BHP, which has recently launched a crackdown on tenants thought to be subletting.
Cllr Harbi Farah, Brent Council’s lead member for housing, said: “Subletting social housing isn’t just selfish - it’s illegal. It clogs up desperately needed accommodation while lining the pockets of people who falsely claim to be in need.
“Brent Council and BHP will be relentless in our pursuit of fraudsters like Ms Nurse, ensuring that council homes go to those who have the right to live in one.”
Anyone who suspects council tenants of committing fraud should contact the council’s counter-fraud team on 020 8937 1279 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.