Why do we need to tackle housing fraud?
There is a shortage of affordable housing in this district, so families in real need of housing can wait a long time on the Housing Register - often for years. Generally there are two types of housing fraud:
Giving false or misleading information on an application for housing.
Misusing a council property after the Tenancy Agreement has been signed.
If someone is successful in making a fraudulent application for housing, they are jumping the queue and being housed before a homeseeker who probably deserves it more.
An application is fraudulent if the homeseeker supplied false information, or withheld something important, when they applied for housing. For example, they choose not to tell us that they already owned or rented a home, in this country or abroad, at the time of the application.
Misuse of a council property means:
A council tenant has sub-let their property. This is often done for profit, and the property is rented to someone else at an inflated rate. The Government is currently introducing legislation to make this a criminal offence.
A tenant has moved out of their home (possibly because they have somewhere else to live) and they leave it empty for a long period.
Someone who is not eligible has succeeded to a tenancy. A fraudulent application to succeed usually involves someone claiming to have lived with the deceased tenant before their death, when in fact they lived elsewhere.
Other types of housing fraud include illegally assigning a council tenancy to someone else, making a fraudulent Right to Buy application or mutually exchanging a property for profit.
Misuse of a council property could be depriving a family on the Housing Register of a much-needed home and we need to tackle it.