Housing Fraud Crackdown Launched in North Yorkshire
8:38am 3rd February 2014
People across York and North Yorkshire are being asked to help crack down on tenancy fraud next month.
Investigators are taking part in Yorkshire's Tenancy Fraud Forum Awareness Week from February 3 – 7.
‘Report tenancy fraud; it’s not right and it’s not fair’ is the theme of the week – and Investigators are joining social landlords across the county to shine a spotlight on tenancy fraud and encourage people to come forward and report tenancy cheats.
In 2013, Veritau helped York Council recover 30 properties that were being misused, as well as blocking 12 false applications for housing.
Across the UK it is estimated that 98,000 housing association and council homes are occupied by someone who should not live there or has obtained their tenancy fraudulently either by unlawful subletting, obtaining a home by deception or wrongly claiming succession after someone dies.
Examples of tenancy fraud include:
- tenants letting out their home without the council's or housing association's knowledge or permission
- obtaining a home by giving false information
- no longer living at the property
- people staying in a council property after the legal tenant has left the property or died, without informing the council or housing association
- even selling on the keys of a home for a one off payment
- council tenants swapping without the council's or housing association’s consent.
Any suspicions of fraud against the city council should be reported to the council’s fraud hotline, 01904 552935.All information received is treated with the utmost confidence.
Councillor Lindsay Cunningham-Cross, Cabinet Member for Crime and Stronger Communities, said: “Tenancy fraud affects all social landlords which means that perpetrators are denying eligible people across the region much-needed homes and are stealing from the public purse."
“At a time of huge demand for social housing it is even more important that available social property goes to those who need it most. If members of the public suspect someone is committing fraud, they should report it.”
East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s fraud investigation manager, Andy Hardy, said: “When somebody with a council home rents it out without permission or obtains a home through providing false information, they are guilty of housing fraud. They are using up valuable housing spaces and depriving families and vulnerable people on the waiting list. It’s not fair.”
To help spread the message, the following “Drop-In Sessions” will be held in the East Riding, to allow members of the public to come along and speak to members of the team about what is being done to prevent, deter and detect housing fraud in the area:
- Monday 3rd (10am to 1pm) Town Hall, Quay Road, Bridlington
- Tuesday 4th (10am to 1pm) Customer Service Centre, Cross Street, Beverley
- Wednesday 5th (10am to 1pm) Customer Service Centre, Church Street, Goole
- Thursday 6th (10am to 1pm) The Withernsea Centre, Withernsea
Mr Hardy, added: “We need to make the best use of the housing we have available. I would encourage members of the public to come forward, report their suspicions and blow the whistle on housing cheats.
“We are highlighting housing fraud this week to make sure that the public are aware of what it is and how they can report their suspicions confidentially.”
Anyone wishing to report someone they suspect of committing tenancy fraud or any other fraud in the East Riding of Yorkshire can call 01482 394949 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
All reports of tenancy fraud are treated absolutely confidentially.
“When somebody with a council or housing association home rents it out without permission or obtains a home through providing false information, they are guilty of housing fraud,” said Deputy Leader of the Council, Councillor Peter Wilkinson.
“They are taking property they are not entitled to and depriving families on the housing waiting list. We are using the week to raise awareness of tenancy fraud and how to report it. We hope that residents will trust us and come forward and report anyone they think is guilty of tenancy fraud.
“It is vital that we make the best use of the housing available and provide homes to those in genuine housing need.
If you suspect someone of tenancy fraud contact the council on 01609 767268 or 01609 767065 (after hours) – your report will be treated in strictest confidence and can be given anonymously.
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