Magazine article Public Finance

Healey Plans Crackdown on Tenancy Cheats

Magazine article Public Finance

Healey Plans Crackdown on Tenancy Cheats

Article excerpt

Members of the public are being offered £500 to tip off local authorities about tenants who unlawfully sublet their homes to other households.

A total of 147 councils will receive £4m for anti-fraud initiatives designed to catch 'tenancy cheats'. People whose information leads to the recovery of die first 1,000 council or housing association properties will be given rewards.

Announcing the scheme on November 30. housing minister John Healey said tip-offs from neighbours were critical in half of all cases where homes were recovered from fraudsters.

'We can't allow cheats to hang on to the tenancies of council houses they don't need and don't live in,' he said. ? want people to feel the system for housing families who need homes is fairer.'

The Audit Commission estimated that 50,000 social homes in England could be unlawfully acquired or sublet. In inner cities, the figure might be as high as 1 in 20. It costs about £3,000 to recover such a property, compared with £100,000 to build a new home.

The commission's National Fraud Initiative was extended to social housing in August, with landlords urged to cross-check their records. Healey said data sweeps by die commission had resulted in about 8,000 leads. …

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