The son of a council tenant who had passed away was ordered to give back the keys to a council property in Wealdstone after he lied about his circumstances while claiming succession.
The case came to light after David Riley applied to succeed the property following the death of his mother.
Harrow Council was not satisfied that he lived with his mother in the 12 months prior to her death and therefore took the matter to court after he failed to vacate the property.
The law on succession is clear and set out by the government and the council has a duty to check rigorously and fairly, not just to Riley, but also to those on the council’s waiting list.
An investigation by the Council’s Housing and Corporate Anti-Fraud Teams (CAFT) found that there was little evidence or connection to the property in Wealdstone but lots of evidence confirming he was living at an address in Hillingdon.
Cllr Mina Parmar, Cabinet Member for Housing said: “We have a huge demand for social housing and it is not okay properties are wrongfully occupied which deny people in genuine need of a home.
“While we understand Riley cared for his mother deeply, the law still stands. He was not living with her in the 12 months before her death and therefore did not qualify for succession.
Riley was given plenty of opportunities to tell the truth and hand over the keys to the property, unfortunately he did not co-operate and the matter was referred to court.”
Cllr David Ashton, Cabinet Member for Finance said: “It’s the role of our Corporate Anti-Fraud Team (CAFT) to protect the council from fraud, corruption and bribery – ensuring taxpayer’s money is not abused and assets reclaimed such as in this case where properties are wrongfully obtained.”
He added, “There’s a huge amount of work that takes place in the background, in the last year we have recovered a number of council homes being misused and in doing so saved the council around £1.1million.
“Our work will continue to ensure we put our residents first, protect the public purse and support those in need.”
Within the last year, the Council has recovered five council homes being misused, including one succession and denied a further six Right to Buy applications which have saved the council around £1.1million and provided homes to families who would otherwise have remained in temporary accommodation.