Rogue landlady convicted

A Banbury family is being supported into new accommodation after their former landlady was convicted of illegally renting out social housing.

Published: Thursday, 16th May 2019

On Monday 13 May, Justyna Koczela, 43, of Zaulek Wisniowy, Poland, was convicted at Oxford Magistrate’s Court of illegal subletting. She was ordered to pay £6,254.90, comprising a fine, unlawful profit order, costs, and a victim surcharge.

The offence began in November 2017, when a member of the family rented the property in good faith from Koczela, who assured them that she was the owner. The residence is in fact the property of social landlord Sanctuary Housing.

Graeme Kane, Cherwell’s chief operating officer, said: “This conviction will leave people in no doubt that we will act to protect the district’s social housing stock for the people who really need it.

“The tenants are the real victims in this case. They had moved into the property in good faith and have had to endure considerable disruption through no fault of their own.

“I am pleased that we have been able to allocate a new home to them through the housing register.”

The defendant has now moved out of the country and did not appear in court.

The conviction was the result of joint work between Oxford City Council’s Oxford Investigation Service, Cherwell, and Sanctuary Housing.

When the tenants were made aware that they were living in an illegally sublet property they were eager to do the right thing and promptly contacted the council and the police for advice.

They are expected to move into their new home in the coming fortnight.