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Tenancy Fraud Awareness Week 2019

17 May 2019

Network Homes will be getting involved in Tenancy Fraud Awareness Week 2019 from 27 to 31 May to raise awareness to our residents and staff. During the week we will be officially launching our key amnesty where residents breaking the law by subletting their Network Homes property will be given the chance to hand their keys back as part of our one-off amnesty in order to avoid legal action being taken against them.

One of our aims through the amnesty is to ensure our homes are made available to those in need. Social housing is a valuable asset to the public and often a lifeline to the people it’s meant for, given the shortage of affordable homes.

In 2018, £216.1 million was lost due to housing fraud, making it the most expensive area of fraud detected in the public sector.

What is tenancy fraud?

Tenancy fraud can present itself in many forms including:

Type

Definition

Unlawful subletting

Tenant rents out their home without our permission and knowledge. It is against the terms of our tenancy conditions to sublet the home.

 

Abandonment

Tenant abandons their home and has not notified us of their intentions of not returning to the property.

Wrongly claimed succession

tenant dies, and someone tries to take over or succeed the tenancy when they are not entitled to.

False Right Buy / Right To Acquire

Tenant makes a Right to Buy or Right to Acquire application and gives false information in their application.

 

Key selling

Where a resident is paid to pass on their keys in return for a one-off payment.

 

Obtaining housing by deception

Tenancy is granted and the tenant has given false information on their housing application.

What is the impact of tenancy fraud?

We recognise the shortage of social housing properties and tenancy fraud deprives a family or individual of a home. It can also lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour in neighbourhoods where our properties are not being occupied correctly. This increases the risk of damage to our properties which results in us spending more money on repairing damage and less money on investing on our homes.

In our continued fight to tackle tenancy fraud we’ve managed to recover another property through our investigations. The resident in question was living away from our property , but using it to run a hairdressing business during the week. The matter was referred to us from the Local Authority after someone tipped them off.

We investigated and served the resident with a legal notice. After receiving this and further evidence the decision was taken to hand back the keys of the property to Network Homes and avoid legal action. Now that’s what we call good news! 

How can you help us?

You can help us tackle tenancy fraud by reporting any unusual activity in your neighbourhood. We will treat your report in strict confidence. 

You may wish to report:

  • A resident who is living elsewhere and not using their home.
  • You suspect a property is being illegally sublet e.g. tenants changing frequently
  • A Network Homes social housing property being advertised on the internet for rent
  • Someone who’s provided us with false information when they applied for housing e.g. they failed to declare that they own another home elsewhere.

You can report tenancy fraud in confidence by calling 0208 459 9463 or emailing fraud@networkhomes.org.uk