Selby District Council’s first prosecution of a council home subletter

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An investigation carried out by Selby District Council’s fraud team, Veritau, has successfully prosecuted a serious case of fraud, which deprived the community of a social housing property due to unlawful subletting.

Steven Holt, 33, had previously held a council tenancy at Hollytree Walk in Tadcaster between 2011 and 2017. The Council were notified that Mr Holt had been subletting his property after moving to York in 2015 for which he was receiving rental income from the subtenant.

An investigation into this was conducted by Veritau, the Council’s fraud investigation service.

The investigation concluded at York Magistrates Court on 17 December 2019 with Mr Holt pleading guilty to one charge of unlawful subletting under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013. This is the first time that Selby District Council has used this legislation to prosecute.

In sentencing, the court fined Mr Holt a total of £1,460.30. This included court costs and a victim surcharge.

Councillor Chris Pearson, Selby District Council’s Lead Executive Member for Housing, Health & Culture, said: “Fraud of this kind deprives families who are in need of a home. This case sends an important message – that we will take action to ensure our housing stock is used for those who need it the most.”

The Council encourages anyone with any information on fraudulent activity to phone the fraud hotline on 0800 9179 247 or email counter.fraud@veritau.co.uk.