Government aims to Crackdown on Council Sublet Cheats
A national crackdown on social housing tenancy cheats is launched by the Government with the aim to recover up to 10,000 council and housing associations homes which have been sublet illegally.
According to the statistics, about 50,000 homes in England are sublet by individuals living elsewhere and earning rental income by charging higher rental rates. The Government now aims to stop this trend and recover up to 10,000 social homes for those who are in need.
The Government has launched its crackdown strategy, which involves £4 million in setting-up the anti-fraud scheme in the social housing sector. At present, there are more than 140 councils signed up to join the Government. Announced by Housing Minister – John Healey, the Government will reward anyone who helps to find tenants or neighbours who sublet their council houses fraudulently. Those who get caught will end up losing their council homes and may even lose their right to rent a social housing property in the future.
The Government has got 8,000 potential leads of tenancy cheats recorded from Audit Commission. Those leads are now distributed to the relevant council and housing associations for further investigation.
The Housing Minister pointed out that fraudulent behaviour is unfair to poor individuals and households who actually need the help and benefits of the social housing sector. Furthermore, research from the Audit Commission showed that 1 in 100 to 1 in 20 social homes are acquired or sublet unlawfully (equivalent to around 50,000 social homes across the country).