Fareham woman in court for subletting her council house - Portsmouth magistrates give her suspended sentence

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A woman has appeared in court for subletting her council house to a relative after she moved – and her old home has now been recovered and given to a family.

Shellie Jane Whiffin, of Linden Lea, Portchester, was prosecuted by Fareham Borough Council for committing housing fraud and appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court.

The prosecution case was submitted by Southampton Legal and dealt with at Portsmouth Magistrates Court.

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Portsmouth Magistrates' CourtPortsmouth Magistrates' Court
Portsmouth Magistrates' Court

Whiffin pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months. The court also made an unlawful profit order of £1,248.62, which Ms Whiffin must repay, leaving the council to recover its losses separately.

Cllr Connie Hockley, the council’s executive member for housing said: ‘I am delighted that this prosecution case has been successful as it acts as a deterrent to others who are unlawfully subletting their council homes. Council houses are in huge demand and offences such as this deprive other members of the community of a much-needed home. The property has now been recovered and reallocated to a family that has been on the housing waiting list for some time.’

Whiffin faced three charges in court over her former home in Coniston Walk, Fareham. She admitted them all in court on December 20, at which point the case was adjourned for pre-sentence reports to be drawn up.

It was alleged that between May 1, 2019 and September 21, 2020 she ‘dishonestly’ failed to notify the authorities about a change of circumstances which affected her entitlement to housing benefit, as she no longer lived in Coniston Walk.

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The second charge was that between May 1, 2019 and September 20, 2020 she did not give tell Fareham Borough Council that she was not entitled to a reduction in council tax under the reduction scheme.

The third charge that Whiffin faced was that she dishonestly sub-let or parted with possession of dwelling-house let under secure tenancy, which breached her tenancy agreement. This charge related to the period between October 25, 2019 and November 22, 2021, when she ‘ceased to occupy the dwelling-house as [her] only or principal home’.

Residents can report housing fraud to Fareham council by emailing [email protected] or calling 01329 824667.