Canning Town council tenant jailed for illegally subletting flat

Mubato Nzabi has been jailed

Mubato Nzabi has been jailed - Credit: Archant

A council tenant from Canning Town has been jailed after he was caught illegally subletting his flat.

Mubato Nzabi, 48, was found guilty of illegally renting out the three-bedroom council property in Ordnance Road, Canning Town.

He was prosecuted for benefit fraud, council tax evasion and illegally subletting under the Fraud Act and the Social Security Administration Act.

Nzabi, who was given the property in 1994 but had been renting it out since April 2013, was sentenced to nine months behind bars on July 24 at Wood Green Crown Court.

The tenant was caught illegally subletting the flat to a family after he failed to notify Newham Council and the Department of Work and Pensions that he had moved out.

Nzabi, who originally lived in the flat with his daughter, also continued to claim both housing and council tax benefits to the address.

He was caught following a routine check, which are regularly made by Newham Council, to ensure the correct tenants are living in the right council properties.

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Mayoral advisor for housing, Cllr Andrew Baikie, said: “This successful prosecution shows that we take illegal subletting very seriously and will take tough action against anyone we catch.

“Illegally subletting council properties unfairly deprives someone else of a council house, who may have been waiting on our register for a long time. It is imperative that our housing stock is distributed fairly.”

Last month, Newham Council introduced an amnesty giving tenants who are illegally subletting their council homes, until September 1 to hand their keys in, and to give the property back.

The council state that the tenants who come forward by the given time will not face prosecution.

However, anyone caught to be committing tenancy fraud after the date, will be prosecuted.

Cllr Baikie added: “Anyone committing tenancy fraud should hand their keys back to the council immediately because if you are caught, you will face a hefty fine or even prison.”