A buy-to-let landlord who owns 30 properties in York and Leeds has been handed a fine of more than £1,000 and ordered to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work and 20 days of rehabilitation activity after being pleading guilty to five counts of council tax fraud.
York Magistrates Court heard how John Rangeley, aged 51 of Stillington Road, Brandsby, claimed a 25% single person discount on the levy between 2010-2016 on the grounds he or his wife lived alone at three of his properties when in reality he was renting them out on a room by room basis.
The fraud was uncovered and investigated by Veritau, City of York Council’s fraud investigation service.
The two-year investigation into his claims for discounts was prompted by a member of staff who was suspicious when Rangeley rang the council to apply for a discount purporting to be a tenant rather than the landlord.
Veritau found that Rangeley had falsely applied for discounts at rental properties he owned which had more than one adult tenant living in them.
Magistrates ordered the landlord to do a 12-month community order with 200 hours' unpaid work and 20 days' rehabilitative activities and pay £1,082 prosecution costs to City of York Council which brought the case, and an £85 statutory surcharge.
He was also ordered to repay the £2,831 he gained through the fraud.
Cllr Helen Douglas, executive member with responsibility for fraud, said: “This was a lengthy and serious case of multiple frauds against the council.
“Fraudulent claims of single person discount deprive the council and local residents of much-needed funds and can affect services.”