In a significant victory for Hillingdon Council, a three-bedroom council house has been reclaimed from a fraudster who had been illegally occupying it for two decades.
The eviction allows the property to be allocated to a deserving family in need, following a protracted legal battle.
The individual in question, a Bangladeshi national who entered the UK in 1993 using a stolen identity and someone else’s passport, had presented herself as homeless with her four children to the council in 2002. Responding to her request, the council initially provided temporary accommodation before placing her on the waiting list. In August 2003, she successfully secured a three-bedroom property in Uxbridge.
However, in 2018, Hillingdon Council’s housing team became aware that the occupant was under investigation by the council’s counter-fraud team for fraudulent activities. Criminal proceedings were subsequently initiated against her and her husband. It was revealed that she had unlawfully claimed social security benefits, amounting to over £234,000, to which she later pled guilty in 2019. Consequently, she received a prison sentence of three and a half years.
Following her conviction, the council’s legal services team took action to repossess the property. However, the tenant refused to relinquish it, leading to a protracted four-year legal dispute. The culmination of this battle finally occurred on April 19th of this year, when the fraudulent occupant was successfully evicted from the premises.
llr Martin Goddard, Cabinet Member for Finance at Hillingdon Council, expressed his appreciation for the resolution and praised the diligent work of the council’s fraud and legal teams. He stated, “This is a really quite remarkable story of a resident’s two decades of deception and the following four-year legal saga that has fortunately ended with freeing-up a vital home that can go to a family in genuine need from our waiting list.
“I thank our fraud and legal teams for their unwavering work to get this result, which demonstrates our dogged determination to pursue and take action against those who seek to swindle the council.”