A fraudster has been fined more than £100,000 for renting out his council flat, despite owning three other properties across London and living at his parents’ house.
“Greedy” Saeed Azimi, 33, was found out by Westminster council’s anti-fraud team after he applied to buy the council flat in Lenthall House, Pimlico, just 250m from the river bank.
Azimi was given a tenancy for the flat in 2011, but the council’s investigation found he had made thousands of pounds from illegally subletting it on three occasions.
It was then discovered he was living with his parents while renting out his three other properties in Thamesmead, Enfield and Tottenham.
Councillor Heather Acton, the council’s cabinet member for public protection, said: “There is a national housing shortage. Social housing is much-needed to provide homes for our residents and this tenant has been deceitful in letting out his home.
“Subletting a council property is illegal. As well as being financially greedy, the tenant deprived another resident of a home. Now this tenant’s fraudulent activity has been discovered, someone in genuine need on the waiting list will be given a place to call home.”
Azimi was handed the £85,000 fine at Woolwich Crown Court. He was also charged £17,500 for court costs and given a two-year suspended sentence.
Westminster council’s anti-fraud officers recovered 24 flats from bogus tenants last year.
The council said it was lobbying the government to introduce a compulsory cross-platform registration scheme for property owners, so councils know what properties are being short-term let and for how long.
Pictured top: The council flat in Lenthall House, Pimlico.
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Cheques should be made payable to “MSI Media Limited” and sent by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online. Everyone at the South London Press thanks you for your continued support.
Get the latest local news delivered every week!