How we deal with reports of Tenancy Fraud
Each year thousands of Council owned homes are unavailable to the people who need them. This is because of Social Housing Fraud which became a criminal offence when a new law “The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013” came into force in October 2013.
Under the new law, tenants committing social housing tenancy fraud risk a criminal investigation and prosecution in addition to the risk of losing their tenancy. The maximum penalty for Social Housing Fraud is up to two years in prison and a fine up to £50,000. Courts will also have the power to make an order forcing tenants to repay any profits made by sub-letting.
How is East Kent Housing helping to tackle Social Housing Fraud?
East Kent Housing is committed to helping stamp out social housing fraud and work closely with our Council’s to identify cases and investigate them thoroughly. Together we run a number of routine checks which include:
- Verifying the details supplied by the applicant at the time of the application process
- Checking information against other records held internally
- Taking part in national anti-fraud initiatives
- Making random checks to verify the identities of people living in our properties
- Keeping photographic records of all new tenants
- Carrying out tenancy audits and keeping photographic records of existing tenants
- Prosecuting applicants who are found to have committed Housing Fraud
Who is committing Social Housing Fraud?
- Anyone giving false information or failing to disclose information on a housing application form when applying for a Council home.
- Anyone Unlawfully Subletting- this is when a tenant rents out their home without the knowledge or permission of the Council/ East Kent Housing. They then make a profit by charging the person they are subletting to a much higher rate than the rent.
- Anyone retaining a property after a tenant has died- this is usually where someone tries to succeed to the tenancy by claiming they have lived there with the deceased tenant before their death when in fact they lived elsewhere.
- Anyone selling keys to their Council home – this is the keys to the property are ‘sold’ for a one-off payment
- Anyone who has swapped their council homes ,by mutual exchange, without the permission of the Landlord
- Anyone giving false information on a Right to Buy application- This is where an applicant has not lived in the property for the qualifying period or hides details of debt/bankruptcy.
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