No jail for council house fraudster who sublet property then applied for Right to Buy

By Dayna Farrington | Kingswinford | Crime | Published:

A fraudster has avoided prison after subletting his council house while living elsewhere then trying to purchase it through Right to Buy

Keepers Close in Kingswinford, where the council house is. Photo: Google

John Facer, 52, illegally sublet his one-bedroom Dudley Council house for three years while living at a property he owned in Kidderminster, the council said.

He then sold the property in Kidderminster for a profit of £58,000 and moved back to the council house he'd been renting out in Keepers Close, Kingswinford, before trying to buy it off the council under Right to Buy.

The scheme allows tenants to buy properties off councils or housing associations at a heavily discounted price, but only if they have - been living in the home for three years and it is their main residence.

If successful Facer would have received a discount of £36,250 on the house's value, however the application was cancelled by Dudley Council due to ongoing investigations into his subletting.

He was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 240 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to two charges of fraud and one of subletting his council property.

Magistrates in Dudley also ordered Facer to pay back £1,955.68, pay a victim surcharge of £115 and legal costs of £5,000 at a hearing on Friday.

Despite being sentenced Facer is refusing to relinquish the tenancy voluntarily, the council said.

As a result the authority is in the process of repossessing it and then allocating it to an eligible social housing applicant.


Sentencing Facer, District Judge Webster warned him that he was “close to leaving the court in a van”.

Speaking afterwards, Councillor Laura Taylor, Dudley Council's cabinet member for housing, communities and residents' welfare, said: "Mr Facer’s actions will have deprived someone in genuine need of housing and once again we are showing people that falsifying housing applications is a serious offence.

"I would remind anyone who may be considering falsifying a housing application that we will take legal action against people who commit housing fraud."

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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