Housing fraud prosecutions at Dudley Magistrates Court

Two tenants have been ordered to pay costs and fines totalling hundreds of pounds after being caught illegally subletting their Dudley Council properties.

The unrelated cases were both heard at Dudley Magistrates Court on February 24.

In the first case, Dean Zarelli was found to be illegally subletting his council home on Warrens Hall Road in Dudley to Darren Zarrelli from March 2016 to December 2019. Darren supplied false information on his housing application form in attempt to cover up the sublet.

Dean was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £60 and full costs of £818. He was given a curfew order for 16 weeks from 8pm to 6am.

Darren was also made subject to a curfew order from 8pm to 6pm for 12 weeks and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £60 and full costs of £818.04.

Also in court was the case against David Smith who had been subletting his council property at Clent Court in Dudley for nearly two years. The subletting arrangement was picked up by the vigilant housing team.

David attended court and submitted a guilty plea. He agreed to pay costs of £858 and an unlawful profit order of £913.18. He was also ordered to pay a £30 victim surcharge and a £200 fine for the offence. Councillor Laura Taylor, cabinet member for housing and community services, said:

"Subletting is an illegal activity and one we will not tolerate in this borough. We have a lettings policy for a reason – to make sure homes are let fairly and equally and anyone who thinks they are above the rules are mistaken.

"Thanks to the expertise of our housing teams we have been able to secure successful prosecutions against these tenants and I am delighted these homes are now available to people legitimately waiting for a council home. I would urge anyone who has information about anyone they think may be subletting a home to get in touch with us."

To report someone who is thought to be illegally subletting their council home call 01384 814242 or email hotline@dudley.gov.uk.


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