Zambian woman who obtained London flat by fraud loses it

Zambian woman who obtained London flat by fraud loses it

Joy Chishimba

A WOMAN has failed in her legal bid to hold onto a flat in Chelsea that she obtained by deception.

Zambian national, Joy Chishimba, appealed to the Central London County Court last month (27 September 2012) against a decision by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to deny her accommodation.

During the proceedings it was revealed that Miss Chishimba first came to the UK on a student visa in 2004 but then overstayed. In September 2009 she used a false passport to make successful applications for benefits and housing.

But the frauds were uncovered and Miss Chishimba was subsequently convicted of a number of offences involving the use of the passport and obtaining benefits by deception.

By then Joy Chishimba had been allocated temporary accommodation in an SW3 flat but the Council took the view that as a result of the deception its legal responsibility to house her should end.

However, Miss Chishimba had by now been granted leave to remain in the UK, making her eligible for public assistance and in 2012 she made a second application to Kensington and Chelsea for housing. This the Council also rejected, on the grounds that through her criminal deception she had made herself intentionally homeless.

Eviction was stayed to allow Miss Chishimba to exercise her rights of appeal. First, she asked for a formal review of the Council’s decision to reject her second application for housing. That decision was upheld by the Review Officer in June 2012. Miss Chisimba then went to the County Court to appeal the decision of the review.

In his judgement, His Honour Judge Bailey comprehensively dismissed her grounds of appeal.

He added: “The Review Officer’s conclusion in this case would meet with the approbation of most of the citizens of the UK and certainly with rate and council tax payers of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.”

“At the heart of this case is fairness,” said the Royal Borough’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Tim Coleridge. He continued: “Should someone who has obtained a scarce council resource through deception be allowed to hold onto it thereby denying someone else? We do not think so and I am pleased and relieved to see the County Court agreeing with us so firmly.”

Kenston and Chelsea Chronicle

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