A MAN who pretended to be homeless to try to get a council house from Dudley Council has been ordered to pay £1.5k and has been served with a 12-month community order.

Anthony Hastings pleaded guilty to two counts of housing fraud at Dudley Magistrates Court on October 6.

An investigation by Dudley Council’s housing fraud team found that Hastings had applied for two Dudley Council properties without disclosing legally required information that would have made his application void.

He first applied for a council house in the Dudley borough in 2015 and withheld information about a previous tenancy where he had abandoned a property prior to eviction and had rent arrears owed to landlords including Wolverhampton Homes.

He also failed to disclose that his reference letter was written by his partner.

Hastings then went onto to apply for another council house with Dudley Council in 2019 and once again failed to provide information, which he was legally obliged to.

It was when Hastings presented himself as homeless that his fraudulent activity was identified.

The Magistrate said this was a serious matter and his lies over a long period most likely deprived more deserving parties from appropriate housing.

Hastings, of Holywell Street, Wolverhampton, was given a 12-month community order, which to include ten rehabilitation activity days.

He was also given a 7am to 7pm curfew for 12 weeks and ordered to pay costs in full and victim surcharge of £90.

He has to repay £1,590 and this was backed by a collection order.

Councillor Laura Taylor-Childs, cabinet member for housing and community services, said: "We take housing fraud seriously and we will not hesitate in prosecuting anyone who thinks the rules don’t apply to them.

"In this case, the defendant knowingly withheld information to secure a council property, which should have gone to someone who was genuinely eligible.

"We encourage residents to be our eyes and ears and report anyone who they think might be committing fraud."

People can report possible housing fraud cases by calling 01384 814242.