A FRAUDSTER has avoided prison after subletting his flat whilst claiming benefits.
Mohamad Jaff was charging £450 per month to two tenants for his council flat in Privett House, Cumberland Street between August 2015 and February 2016.
‘Sub-letting is not acceptable and we will take the legal steps to prevent this behaviour.’Councillor Steve Wemyss
The 25-year-old, of Queen Street, Portsea, was found guilty of dishonestly sub-letting the property by Portsmouth magistrates and has been sentenced to 250 hours of community service over a 12-month period. He must also pay £1,285.
Jaff was granted tenancy of the flat in August 2010 and was charged £85.96 per week in rent, which was paid by housing benefit before going on to sublet it five years later.
Paul Fairley, prosecuting, said: ‘The couple visited the flat to view it and were shown around.
‘They made a £900 deposit and were paying £450 per month in rent.’
A housing officer became suspicious of Jaff in December 2015 after seeing a couple she didn’t recognise.
On February 2, Jaff contacted the tenants in the flat to arrange to collect his post that evening.
In his post were letters from the council telling him his benefit had been stopped and calling him in for an interview, prompting Jaff to tell the tenants they would have to move out.
Fearing they would be evicted, the couple sought help from the council, which allowed them to stay for in the property for a week until they could find alternative accommodation.
Jaff wrongly received a total of £2,252 in housing and council tax benefits.
Councillor Steve Wemyss, Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for property and housing, has sent a warning to anyone with similar intentions.
He said: ‘Every time someone illegally sub-lets they are taking a home away from someone else who may desperately need it.
‘Sub-letting of the whole property is not acceptable, and we will take the necessary legal steps to prevent this behaviour.’