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Housing fraud

Help us prevent housing fraud by reporting it 

neighbourhood of people with houses and treesHousing fraud occurs when you apply for a house and you submit your application with false or misleading information. This would be to gain a tenancy that you wouldn't have otherwise been given or to gain the tenancy ahead of those in more urgent need. 

Housing fraud exists in a number of ways and can be a crime.

Most people applying for housing abide by the rules to be allocated a home. However, some do cheat the system for their own benefit.

Housing Cheats don't wait and try to deceive and lie to jump the queue.

It's certainly not fair. They use up valuable housing spaces which deprive those in greater need for housing.

These individuals are guilty of housing fraud and as a result it costs money and additional resources by the Council to keep homeless people in temporary accommodation.

What is housing fraud?

Unlawful sub-letting – when a tenant lets out their council or housing association home without the knowledge or permission of their landlord they are unlawfully subletting. This also includes the tenant moving out and leaving relations at a property.  They often continue to pay the rent for the property directly to their landlord, but charge the person they are subletting to at a much higher rate. It is not right to sublet and to profit from a property which could be given to someone in greater need.

Obtaining housing by deception – when a person obtains a council or housing association home by giving false information in their application. For example, by not telling the landlord they are renting another council or housing association property, they are committing housing fraud.

Unlawful succession – when a tenant dies, there are rules that say what should be done with the tenancy. Wrongly claimed succession is when someone, who is not entitled, tries to take over the tenancy. For example, they might say they lived with the tenant before they died, when in fact they were residing elsewhere.

Non-residence – a tenant of a Social or Registered Landlord, who ceases to live at the address provided by that landlord, may lose their assured tenancy status and lose their right to retain occupation of that property.

Housing fraud can be a crime under the Fraud Act 2006. 

The maximum penalty for a person found guilty of this type of offence is 10 years imprisonment. 

People who sub-let their properties can have court orders for costs and recovery of the proceeds of their crime awarded against them, even without being prosecuted.

What can you do to help?

We are working hard to track down housing cheats to make sure that homes are given to those who are genuinely entitled to housing.

Your help in reporting housing fraud is important because you can see what’s going on in your neighbourhood:A woman giving support advice over telephone

  • do you know somebody who has given false information on their housing application?
  • do you suspect someone of housing fraud because you have seen them collect rent from your neighbours?
  • are you suspicious because the tenants of a property keep changing?
  • have you seen a house that is standing empty for long periods and not being used by the tenant?

If you suspect someone is committing housing fraud, please let us know straightaway. 

It could make a real difference and could save you money!

Email us, call us on 01954 713 000 or fill out the online form.

When emailing us, please provide the following:

  • the address of the property you suspect may be sub-let, unoccupied or other.
  • the names of anyone you know, if residing in the household, or should be residing in the household but isn't.
  • a brief description of the person(s) residing at the address.
  • any vehicle registrations of cars owned by people residing in the property.

The more information you provide, the more likely it is that we will be able to catch housing cheats!

Anything you tell us will be held in the strictest of confidence. You do not need to leave your name or details.

What’s next?

We'll investigate your concerns and take the necessary action.

If someone is found to have committed housing fraud, that person could:

  • lose their tenancy
  • be prosecuted 
  • have to repay any illegal profits, and, 
  • the property will be made available to a family who need it most.

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