A woman who illegally sublet her York council house has become the first person in the North Yorkshire region to be successfully prosecuted.
Beatrice Stanford, 43, admitted charging a tenant £450 a month for the City of York Council-owned property in Fenwick Street.
She later increased the rent to £520 a month including utility bills.
She was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £425 costs, after being prosecuted under the Fraud Act.
Council rules state that tenants must use their property as their sole or main home and they they must inform the authority if this changes.
An investigation found Stanford had been subletting the house since November 2009, at the same time as thousands of people were on the council’s waiting list for accommodation.
A notice to quit the property was served on her in January, and it has subsequently been relet to new tenants.
Councillor Tracey Simpson-Laing said: “This case sends a clear message that the council will take a zero-tolerance approach to the illegal subletting of its properties. We currently have more than 4,000 people on a waiting list for housing and we need to maximise the social housing available to us.”
Mark Thomas, head of internal affairs for Veritau, which investigates fraud on the council’s behalf, said the prosecution was the first of its kind in North Yorkshire and one of only a handful across the UK.