Man given suspended prison sentence for illegally subletting council property

Emille Henderson ordered to pay Newham Council over £4,000 and do 150 hours of unpaid community service

A man who illegally sublet a Council property whilst owning and living in a house elsewhere, depriving a deserving Newham family of a home, has been sentenced to eight months’ suspended prison sentence, and ordered to pay a £4,313 unlawful profit order plus £500 towards Newham Council’s costs.

During sentencing,at Snaresbrook Crown court this week (22 November 2021), Judge Murphy made reference to the nameless victims on Newham Council’s housing register who were often living in desperate circumstances and who may have been homeless and deprived of the opportunity to obtain a property through Henderson’s selfish acts.

Henderson’s eight months’ suspended prison sentence for two counts of unlawful subletting will be served concurrently and suspended for two years. The sentence followed a successful investigation by Newham Council’s specialist housing fraud team.

Henderson had profited from his fraud for a number of years whilst he first lived in the property. He purchased another property elsewhere whilst illegally maintaining the council tenancy and depriving a family an affordable rent property. 

Speaking as the sentence was given, His Honour Judge Murphy said the length of time over which the fraud was committed, warranted a custodial sentence but despite Henderson’s failure to attend an interview and cooperate with the investigation, the Judge had taken into account his guilty pleas and his own circumstances and sentence should be suspended for two years.

Further background to the case

The council began its investigation into Mr Henderson in 2018.

Following an investigation, the Council brought charges relating to Mr Henderson’s failure to declare that he had moved out of the property and that it was now occupied by someone else who he was charging rent to.

  • He had made an application for housing and obtained the tenancy in 1998.
  • In 2007 he purchased a property in West Thurrock, Essex which he occupied with his family.
  • At no time did he comply with his legal obligation to notify the council that he was no longer using his council property as his main and principal home or that someone else had moved into the property.
  • In 2017 he moved from West Thurrock to a property in Watford and continued to sublet his council property.

Mr Henderson was made to return the keys to the property in March 2020 and his tenancy was terminated. The property has now been let to a family who were homeless.

Councillor Shaban Mohammed, Cabinet Member for Housing Services said:

“Henderson has deprived the council of much-needed social housing and contributed towards homelessness. We’re pleased that the court has made a custodial sentence and will recover income illegally derived from this fraud.

“This case sends a very clear message that whoever you are, you cannot expect to get away with fraud and deprive a deserving family of a safe and secure home.

“Our housing fraud team have a number of resources and years of professional expertise. The team carry out detailed investigations that often lead to charges and court action. Recovered homes are returned to the housing stock. I would encourage anyone who suspects housing fraud may be taking place to think about those homeless families denied a home, and to come forward in confidence.” I would like to thank the fraud team for successfully bringing this case forward.”

Anyone who has information that a council property may be illegally sublet or suspects housing fraud, can report an allegation of tenancy by contacting the Fraud Team by Telephone on 0800 052 2420 or by e- mail at [email protected]

Your identity will always remain anonymous and not be disclosed as part of the investigation.

Published: 24 Nov 2021