Tackling housing fraud
Since October 2013, subletting a social housing tenancy has been a criminal offence. Any East Thames tenant found guilty of subletting their property could face a two-year prison sentence and a fine of up to £50,000.
When somebody with a housing association 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.
Social housing is always in high demand so we need to make sure our homes are being used fairly and being lived in by the lawful tenant. That’s why we carry out tenancy verification visits. This is when your housing manager visits you at home to check that the tenant named on the tenancy agreement is indeed the person living in the property.Nine times out of ten, we find that everything is above board and that the lawful tenant, as outlined on the tenancy agreement, is living at the property. However this isn’t always the case.
We’ve uncovered a number of people living unlawfully in our homes who, for one reason or another, shouldn’t have been there. But thanks to our tenancy verification visits, information from local authorities and tip-offs from other residents, we’ve been able to take action.
We couldn’t do it without your help
You know what’s going on in your neighbourhood so we rely on information from you, our residents. If you think someone in your area may be subletting their home or living elsewhere, please do get in touch. Any information you give us will be handled with the strictest of confidence.Contact us on 0300 300 7333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is housing fraud?
There are different types of housing fraud; here are some of the most common:
When an East Thames tenant lets out their home without our knowledge or permission they are unlawfully subletting. They often continue to pay the rent for the property directly to their landlord, but charge the person they are subletting to a much higher rate. It is not fair to sublet and to profit from a property which could be given to someone in greater need.
Obtaining housing by deception
When a person gets an East Thames home by giving false information in their application, for example not telling us they are renting another council or housing association property, they are committing housing fraud.
Wrongly claimed 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 living elsewhere.
Cross checking data: fair processing notice
As part of our efforts to combat fraud we will soon be asking credit reference agencies to cross-check some of our data against theirs. This fraud can take different forms but it can include subletting a property without our permission or using false information to obtain a property.
This will mean sending selected information to the agencies which will include:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Tenancy start date
- Tenant reference number
If there are any inconsistencies in the information, which suggest that a resident is subletting or has obtained their home with false information, we will investigate.
Once we have made these checks the credit reference agency will destroy the data and it will not be provided to any other organisation.