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Giving you the facts about tenancy fraud

02 December 2021

Tenancy fraud is when people are living in a social housing property without the right to do so. You could find yourself in this position (be it unintentionally) or suspect someone else is committing tenancy fraud but are not sure what you can do about it. Well, we’re here to help you. 

For International Fraud Awareness Week (14-20 November) you were able to ask our tenancy fraud officer any questions you had about the topic using our online form which we published in this article. You also had the option to request a call back from our officer if you prefer a one-to-one chat about your situation or something happening in your neighbourhood that we should investigate.  Although, International Fraud Awareness Week has passed you still have the option to get in touch and ask your question or request a call back.

Ask your question or request a call back 

Tenancy fraud, also known as social housing fraud, is related to social housing and occurs when someone is renting a home without the landlord’s permission, getting a home using false information or living somewhere else while claiming to live in the home. It has a devastating effect on the availability of social housing homes for people who are in housing need and costs the UK social housing approximately £1 billion a year. The average value of a property recovered via tenancy fraud investigation is approximately £25,000.  

Here are some facts about the impact of tenancy fraud in your communities: 

  • London Borough of Brent - The average waiting time for a social housing property is approximately 14 years with 20,000 individuals currently on the waiting list.
  • East Herts District Council – currently has 2,162 individuals on their waiting list for a property.
  • City of Westminster - There are currently 2,300 homeless households in the. 

Did you know?

There are common mistakes people make that can lead to tenancy fraud. Here’s a few things you should know about which is also included in your tenancy agreement: 

  • What to do if you’re away from home for longer than six months? - If you intend to be away from your home for longer than six months, you must inform us and seek our permission, providing details of who will be looking after the property while you are away.  
  • Taking over the tenancy from the primary tenant - Succession is not granted automatically. If you would like to take over the tenancy, e.g., if the tenant has passed away or left the home, you need to demonstrate that you have been living at the property for 12 months prior to the person passing or leaving and provide documentary evidence of this. 
  • Leaving the home unoccupied – you must tell us if you no longer need or intend to live in the property. 

What we’ve done to tackle tenancy fraud and how you can help 

We take tenancy fraud seriously and will do all we can to ensure you are informed about your tenancy rights and agreement with us to prevent you from making any mistakes that can lead to tenancy fraud.  

Our tenancy fraud team has: 

  • Recovered 54 properties since 2019 as a direct result of tenancy fraud investigation. 
  • Housed over 70 people in genuine need of social housing as a result of recovering properties. 
  • Made savings of approximately £1,350,000 in the process, investing this to house more residents and provide quality services to existing ones. 
  • Obtained Unlawful Profit orders totalling £50,000 for unlawful subletting. 

We will also investigate any suspected cases of tenancy fraud you tell us about so we can ensure the property is used in the right way by people who really need it. You can find out more about tenancy fraud and how to report it on our Tenancy Fraud page 

Ask us a question 

If you have a burning question about how we tackle tenancy fraud, we’ll answer it. You can ask your question using our online form and our tenancy fraud team will respond to your question which we’ll post on this page. You can also use the form to request a call back from our tenancy fraud officer. All contact will be handled confidentially.  

Ask your question or request a call back! 

Your questions and our answers about tenancy fraud 

No, tenancy fraud may take many forms. Other examples include obtaining social housing property by deception, fraudulent Right to Buy/Acquire applications, fraudulent succession/assignment/mutual exchange applications and abandonment

It takes away our ability to manage the properties subject to tenancy fraud which may lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour and crime in the area. The resources spent on investigating fraud could be better invested in properties and services for our residents.

Do you only investigate subletting?
Is there a specific legislation that covers subletting?
How does a neighbour committing tenancy fraud affect me?


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