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Published: Monday, 17th September 2018

On 3 September 2018, Mr Anthony Rose, 45, was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment for illegally subletting his housing association property for over six years.

Mr Rose obtained the one bedroom property from the Hyde Group in December 1996. Hyde became suspicious of subletting when they visited the property in April 2017 and found a woman living alone at the address.

Hyde’s Tenancy team asked The Royal Borough of Greenwich Internal Audit and Anti Fraud team to investigate further and they visited the property and met with the current occupant. She confirmed she had been living there since October 2015 and was paying a monthly rent of £800 to her landlord, Mr Rose.

Illegal rental income of over £57,000

Council investigators also found that prior to his current 'tenant' Mr Rose had also sublet the property to various other tenants from July 2011 and that his bank accounts showed a rental income from July 2011 to December 2017 totalling over £57,000.

In January 2018 Royal Borough investigators invited Mr Rose for interview, but he refused on advice from his lawyer. He then claimed that the lady living at the property was his girlfriend and that he was living there with her. This was denied by his 'tenant'.

In March 2018 after being shown the evidence against him, Mr Rose offered to return the keys to the property. He asked that no criminal proceedings be taken as he did not want a criminal record. Following further discussions between the Royal Borough and Hyde, Mr Rose was taken to court.

Mr Rose appeared at Woolwich Crown Court in September 2018, charged with two offences relating to the Fraud Act 2006 and the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013. He pleaded guilty to both charges and was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment.

'Deprived genuine people of much needed accommodation'

Councillor Christine Grice, Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said: "Mr Rose deprived genuine people of much needed accommodation for many years and made a substantial profit from his despicable actions. The Council has submitted an application under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 to recover the money Mr Rose made from the illegal subletting.

"Just because you give the keys back doesn’t mean you won’t be prosecuted and lose the profits of any illegal activities."

Partnership working to end illegal subletting

The internal audit and anti-fraud team works closely with housing associations, offering its skill and expertise to assist with subletting investigations. This case is one of several prosecutions that has resulted from the partnership work with housing associations like Hyde, that hold property within Royal Greenwich.

Tenancy Team Manager at the Hyde Group, Natalie Nye said: "We are pleased to have worked with Royal Borough of Greenwich to bring an end to the illegal subletting of this home. This resident was charging close to double the amount of rent he was paying for his social housing home and we operate a zero tolerance approach to tenancy fraud.

"The next step is for us to take possession back of this property as soon as possible, so that someone in genuine housing need can make it their home."

How to report fraud

If you suspect someone of committing fraud against the Royal Borough please call 0800 169 6975 or email fraud@royalgreenwich.gov.uk.

Any information you give will be treated in confidence.