Care home manager Nicola Bavin, 41, is first resident in Kent to be busted for tenancy fraud

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By kentsussex | Friday, September 14, 2012, 11:22

Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council has become the first council in Kent to successfully prosecute a resident for tenancy fraud.

The Council used the Fraud Act 2006 to prosecute Mrs Nicola Bavin, 41, of Ingram Close, Larkfield, Aylesford for failing to declare a change in her circumstances whilst on the Social Housing waiting list.

Bavin pleaded guilty to the charge on Thursday 6 September 2012 at Sevenoaks Magistrates' Court. She was fined £450 and ordered to pay £200 costs.

In June 2010, Bavin declared on her housing application form that she and her two children were living with her mother, step-father and brother. 

As a result, Bavin was assessed as being in 'overcrowded circumstances' and was awarded extra social housing points. 

In May 2011, Bavin was granted a starter tenancy with Russet Homes based on a successful bid using the points awarded.

However, in January 2012, the Council launched an investigation jointly with Russet Homes after it became aware that Bavin had failed to tell the Council that she had obtained a private tenancy in October 2010 and was therefore not entitled to the 'overcrowding' points she had been awarded. 

Bavin used her maiden name when she obtained her private tenancy.

Bavin who is a care home manager no longer lives at the Russet Homes property after surrendering her tenancy in June 2012.

Cllr Jill Anderson, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Housing, says: "This is a landmark case, which makes it quite clear that this Council will not tolerate fraudsters under any circumstances. Those who try to obtain a tenancy by deception are depriving others of a much needed home and I hope this successful prosecution will deter others from going down this route."

According to the Audit Commission, tenancy fraud costs councils an average of £18,000 per property because of the costs associated with providing temporary accommodation. 

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