Tenancy fraud (social housing fraud)

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 breaking the law and committing tenancy fraud (also known as social housing fraud), using up valuable housing  and depriving families and vulnerable people who are on the waiting list.

Those who commit tenancy fraud jump the queue for housing and stop families and vulnerable people on our waiting list from getting housed. This is not fair. They occupy valuable housing spaces which deprives those in greater need. By doing so they are guilty of housing fraud.

Report tenancy fraud in confidence

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 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.

Find out more

What is tenancy fraud?

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.

How is Network Homes tackling tenancy fraud?

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.

Tenancy fraud case study

A tenant was found to have unlawfully sublet their one-bedroom home as a two-bedroom property in a prime London location, while living in a £600,000 valued property elsewhere.

Network Homes investigators obtained concrete evidence from six subtenants, some of which were living abroad. Following our investigation, the tenant agreed to pay back the £45,000 they had made in unlawful profit over the years of illegal subletting.

What is tenancy fraud?
How is Network Homes tackling tenancy fraud?
Tenancy fraud case study
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