Council targets cheats after policeman accused of subletting
A London authority is cracking down on housing cheats after a film crew claimed to have discovered a police officer was subletting his council flat.
Southwark Council spoke out after a BBC Panorama team said they had rented a council flat in Tower Bridge Building, close to Butler’s Wharf, from Pc Stephen Holt, a serving policeman.
The film crew said the officer offered to sublet his council flat to an undercover reporter for £450-a-week, £359 more than he is alleged to pay to Southwark himself.
The programme is on BBC One tonight (Wednesday) at 9pm.
Southwark Council confirmed they have issued a notice to quit the property and were conducting further investigations to see if the officer was receiving any benefits.
The Metropolitan Police said Pc Holt was currently on sick leave but added: ‘We are aware of the allegations and they are being considered.’
The council said it had already reclaimed almost 200 homes this year and was in the process of carrying out tenancy checks to make sure people living in council homes are authorised tenants.
It said if someone is committing housing fraud it will take steps to recover the property and pursue lost rent and council tax.
Ian Wingfield, cabinet member for housing, said: ‘We have a current waiting list of 17,000 people who are desperate for a home, it’s not acceptable to defraud the council, and taxpayers, by subletting a council home – it costs the authority thousands of pounds a year, money which could provide vital services. We cannot ignore the issue.
‘That’s why we’ll be coming down hard on those defrauding the authority.’