With increasing pressures on social housing and many people waiting months or even years to be housed, you’d think that anyone applying for or being given a home would be in genuine need of it. However, that was not the case in Derby when a lady was found to be illegally sub-letting her Derby Homes property.
In October 2016, Marinela Langenbucher was granted a Derby Homes tenancy after becoming homeless in July 2016.
A number of months later, the Council received a call from someone querying the Council Tax charge for the property but the caller was not Ms Langenbucher. With suspicions aroused, the matter was referred to the Council’s Counter Fraud team.
During their investigation, the team were able to establish that Ms Langenbucher was no longer living in Derby but was instead settled in Shropshire with her family and had been since August 2017. She had been sub-letting the Derby property to a friend, for free, in breach of her tenancy agreement.
Following an interview under caution for failing to notify Derby Homes of the change, Ms Langenbucher was summoned to a hearing at Derby Magistrates Court on Thursday 2nd August. At the hearing she pleaded guilty to the offence and as a result was handed a £168 fine and ordered to pay £150 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
Derby Homes have since recovered the property which is now home to another family.
Councillor Roy Webb, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Housing commented:
“When social housing is in demand and we have waiting lists for accommodation this behaviour is selfish. Not only are people on our waiting lists being denied much needed homes but sub tenants are being put at risk of losing what they believe is their home.
If we suspect that our properties are being sub-let, we will investigate and will prosecute if we have the evidence. I would encourage residents to use Derby Homes Whistleblowing process if they suspect a property is being sub-let.”
Residents can contact Derby Homes via their website or by calling 01332 888 777.