Tenant who subletted housing association flat in Willesden must pay almost £22k

Melrose Avenue in in Willesden (Pic: Google)

Melrose Avenue in in Willesden (Pic: Google) - Credit: Archant

A housing association tenant who illegally subletted his two-bedroom flat in Willesden has been ordered to pay almost £22,000.

Mark Grant, 49, rented out the property in Melrose Avenue, which was owned by Genesis Housing Association, to an unsuspecting family after he advertised on online website Gumtree.

He gave the family a fake tenancy agreement but was caught when the heating broke down and the tenants contacted Genesis directly.

Genesis referred the case to Brent Council’s audit and investigations team who worked with them to collect enough evidence to prosecute.

Grant was convicted of dishonestly sub-letting and ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service.

He was also hit with an unlawful profit order of £14,760 which he must pay in addition to costs of £1,074.

Willesden County Court also granted Genesis with a possession order which means Grant must leave the property, pay £481.75 in costs and a money judgement of £5,638.79 for rent arrears.

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Richard Bellis, head of Genesis Housing Association, said: “This sentencing sends a strong message that unlawful subletting is not to be tolerated and carries serious consequences for those who attempt to abuse the system.

“Thanks to the excellent joint working between Genesis and Brent Council, a property has once again been made available for people in genuine housing need.”

Cllr Margaret McLennan, Brent Council’s deputy leader and lead member for finance, said: “Unlawful sub-letting deprives vulnerable families of desperately needed and scarce housing. I’m absolutely delighted that officers’ hard work has brought the property back into social use.

“We’ll press to recover all of the unlawfully earned money, and for the most severe penalties against anyone else who abuses social housing this way.”