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Our ongoing commitment to prevent social housing tenancy fraud

10 November 2023

We pride ourselves in providing safe, good quality affordable homes to those who need it most. To ensure that those with genuine need for affordable housing have a place to call home, we continuously and proactively work to put a stop to people who unlawfully sublet our homes. International Fraud Awareness Week is taking place from 12 to 18 November this year, and to raise more awareness of this type of social housing fraud, we’re highlighting the work we do to tackle tenancy fraud in the communities we work in.

What is tenancy fraud?

Tenancy fraud covers unlawfully subletting social housing properties, not being truthful to get a tenancy, not living in the property, key selling or fraudulently submitting a Right to Buy/Right to Acquire application.

Tenancy fraud is a criminal offence which can carry a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment and/or a £50,000 fine.

There is a common misconception that tenancy fraud is a victimless crime, but unlawfully living in or subletting social housing deprives people or families who are already on long housing waiting lists of somewhere safe and affordable to live.

  • More than 148,000 homes are subject to some form of tenancy fraud.
  • More than 100,000 families are in temporary accommodation because of tenancy fraud.
  • Every home that is linked to tenancy fraud costs the taxpayer £42,000.

What have we done to stop tenancy fraud in our communities?

Since 2019, in London and Hertfordshire we’ve recovered 70 homes as a direct result of our tenancy fraud investigations, which has provided housing to 150 people who were in genuine need of housing. In addition to this, we have also obtained over £100,000 in Unlawful Profit Orders from London and Hertfordshire tenants who were unlawfully subletting. We plan to continue our active engagement with the relevant authorities to stop tenancy fraud and ensure all our homes are allocated to those who are in most need.

Report tenancy fraud

Successful outcomes in tenancy fraud cases rely heavily on the support we receive from residents and members of the public. You can report tenancy fraud in confidence by calling 0208 459 9463 or emailing fraud@networkhomes.org.uk. Any information you give us will be treated in the strictest of confidence and your identity will be protected.

You can report the suspected fraud anonymously, but we ask that you give us as much information as possible to help our investigations. The more information that we have, the better the chance we have of stopping fraudsters.

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