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What is tenancy fraud?
There are different types of tenancy fraud. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Unlawful subletting - where a tenant rents out their home without the knowledge or permission of the landlord
- Wrongly claimed succession - where the tenant dies and someone, who is not entitled to, tries to take over or succeed the tenancy
- False Right to Buy/Right to Acquire - where a tenant makes a RTB/RTA application and misrepresents circumstances within their application
- Key selling - where a tenant is paid to pass on their keys in return for a one-off payment
- Unlawful assignment - where a tenant ceases using their tenancy as their main or principal home, allowing another person to reside there without permission from the landlord
- Obtaining housing by deception - where a person obtains a home by giving false information on their housing application
Why is it important to tackle tenancy fraud?
Social housing is a valuable asset to the public and at present there isn’t enough supply to meet the demand of people who are in genuine need of housing. Registered providers have a duty to ensure that they make the best use of their housing stock and ensure that those in occupation are those who are legally entitled to occupy the property. 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 have no right to reside there.
What does Shropshire Towns & Rural Housing do to tackle tenancy fraud?
We take tenancy fraud very seriously and will take action to regain possession of properties and recover any unlawful profits made by tenants 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.
To try and identify any tenancy fraud that might be happening in our homes, our Neighbourhood Housing Officers regularly carry out ‘tenancy audits’ as part of our housing management activities, where they carry out checks to ensure the correct person is living in the property.
So if you are not using your home as your only and principle home and allow someone else to live in it and dishonestly obtain rent, you may be liable for a fine of up to £50,000 or 2 years imprisonment.
Remember; if you have a home that you do not need or do not live in, you are breaking the law and depriving someone else of a much needed home!
What can you do to help?
If you suspect tenancy fraud, you can report it by calling us direct or alternatively you can contact the Audit Team on 01743 252081 or in confidence and anonymously to the 'Whistle Blowing' number on 01743 252627.
Any information you give us will be treated in the strictest confidence. 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.