A local authority has successfully prosecuted a social housing tenant for illegally subletting her home.

When housing association London & Quadrant discovered Yasmine Maya was not apparently living at her flat, it carried out a joint investigation with Enfield Council.

The authority subsequently instigated legal action against Ms Maya and she has now been convicted for breaching the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013.

Councillor Andrew Stafford, cabinet member for finance at Enfield Council, insisted that those who profit from unlawfully subletting social housing are criminals.

As as result, the authority is "delighted we have been successful in bringing this criminal to book".

Councillor Stafford added that this specific case has "broken new ground", as Enfield Council has become the first local authority to use the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 to "crack down on a benefit fraudster".

Ms Maya was given a custodial sentence of 16 months, suspended for two years, as well as an order to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work. Meanwhile, her flat has been recovered and reallocated to another person. 

She pleaded guilty both to illegally subletting her flat and carrying out benefit fraud, as she failed to declare earnings and savings while claiming around £42,000.

The previous coalition government introduced the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act in October 2013 as official estimates suggested approximately 100,000 social homes in England were being unlawfully occupied.