As a housing association we have to make the best use of the homes we own and ensure that the people living there are legally entitled to be there. People who are already in need of social housing and on the waiting list will have to wait even longer if homes continue to be occupied by people who don’t have the right to live there.
We are committed to providing safe and secure housing, but we can’t build an endless supply, that’s why we are closing in on fraudsters and have specialist teams who work with the police and local authorities to investigate reports, prosecute individuals and recover properties.
If you are a Network Homes resident and illegally subletting your home, this is a breach of your tenancy agreement, and against the law.
There are many different types of tenancy fraud. These are the most common:
- Unlawful subletting - when a tenant rents out all, or part of their home to someone else without our permission. (The ‘sub-tenant’ may be seen to be participating in fraud and as such may be committing a criminal offence).
- Failing to report a change in circumstances. (For example, a single person living on their own moves a partner or family member into their home. If they are claiming Single Persons Discount on their Council Tax and do not inform the local authority, this is benefit fraud which is a criminal offence carrying a potential prison sentence). This information is shared with local authority partners.
- Obtaining housing by deception - when a person applying for housing knowingly gives false information in their application.
- Unlawful succession - when someone who is not entitled to the property takes over the tenancy.
- Key selling – when a tenant moves out and sells their key to someone else. (Both parties may be seen to be working together to commit fraud and may face prosecution).
- Abandonment - when a tenant stops living at their home and leaves it, but doesn’t tell us and does not contact the local authority to stop any benefits they have been claiming.
- Making a fraudulent Right To Buy application.
- Keeping a social rented home when they own another property.
We take tenancy fraud very seriously and will take action to regain possession of properties and recover any unlawful profits made by residents wherever we find evidence of tenancy fraud. Our right to do this has been enforced by the government in The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013.
We work hard to combat tenancy fraud. Network Homes works with other agencies to take action against residents found to be subletting their properties. This releases the homes involved to those who need them.
Do you know someone in a home who is renting it out without permission, got their home by giving false information or is living somewhere else (someone else may be living at the property or it may be empty)? Then they could potentially be committing tenancy fraud, using up valuable housing accommodation and depriving families and vulnerable people who are on the waiting list.
You can report tenancy fraud in confidence by calling 0208 459 9463 or emailing email@example.com
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 please 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 it.
As part of our commitment to tackle tenancy fraud, we’re going to offer a reward of £250 to residents and members of the public through a referral of suspected tenancy fraud which leads to the successful recovery of one of our social housing properties. This scheme will run for another 12 months ending on 31 May 2021. People who have reported cases since May 2020 are eligible for the reward scheme as that’s the month it was officially extended for another year.
In the last financial year, we recovered 23 properties as a direct result of tenancy fraud investigations. This means a saving of approximately £575,000 for Network Homes. As a housing association we must make the best use of the homes we own and ensure that the people living there are legally entitled to be there. People who are already in need of social housing and on the waiting list will have to wait even longer if homes continue to be occupied by people who don’t have the right to live there.
Illegal subletting is a criminal offence – with a prison sentence or fine of up to £5,000.
You can report the suspected fraud in confidence by calling us on 020 8459 9463 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
How does the reward scheme work?
We’ll acknowledge any referral you make to us. We will then investigate the matter and you may be contacted for further information. If someone has committed tenancy fraud, we will take any necessary action including recovering the property.
Due to volume of referrals and while we conduct our investigation, we will not be able to provide you with an update. You will be contacted once it’s completed to confirm if you are eligible for the reward.
Network Homes will pay the sum of £250 through credit to your rent/Network Homes account where the referral has led to the successful recovery of our property. For members of the public, payment will be made in cash. This may involve a court case which can take some time. If we need to go to court, we may ask you to provide evidence we can use usually in the form of a witness statement. If you wish to remain anonymous, we will protect your identity.
Should your referral concern a property that is already subject to a tenancy fraud investigation, it would not qualify as being eligible for the reward scheme.
If you suspect fraud you can report it to us in confidence by calling 0208 459 9463 or email email@example.com.