Tenancy fraud is illegal

The Council has to make the best use of public resources by ensuring that existing stock is properly managed and that tenancy fraud is prevented or appropriately dealt with when it is detected. The Council aims to deter and prevent fraudulent activity and where it is detected to take action. When we find out about incidents of tenancy fraud we will take the information seriously and act swiftly and appropriately.

Tenancy fraud refers to a situation where a tenant of the Council has breached certain terms of their tenancy agreement and is defined under four headings:

  • Not using the property as the sole or principal home. This includes:
  • Abandoning the property
  • Unlawfully subletting the entire property
  • Remaining in the property without a legal right to do so or without the landlords permission after the tenant has moved out or died

Attempting to obtain a property using false statements, for example falsely claiming to be homeless/potentially homeless

Attempting to obtain a property by using false documents for example, using a forged passport or claiming to be someone else in order to access social housing

Tenancy fraud has a damaging impact upon the Council and its residents because:

  • It can prevent people in genuine need accessing Council housing
  • The Council is not able to make best use of its housing stock
  • There is a greater risk of the property being used for illegal purposes
  • The Council may have difficulty gaining access to the property to carry out essential maintenance work putting the health and safety of the property and the occupiers at risk

Social housing is a valuable national asset which provides security and stability to millions of people in housing need in England. However, the Audit Commission estimates that there are thousands of social homes across the country that may be occupied fraudulently resulting in a significant cost to the public purse.

Tenancy fraud is a criminal offence. The penalties for committing social housing fraud, if convicted, range from fines of between £5,000 and £50,000 or up to two years imprisonment. You are at risk of losing your home if you are found to have breached your tenancy agreement by committing tenancy fraud.

Public reports of suspected tenancy fraud are a very important source of intelligence for the Council. We will take all reports seriously, whether anonymous or not and act upon them promptly.

You can report suspected cases of tenancy fraud:

  • By telephoning the Tenancy Services Team on 01827 719242 or the Council’s One Stop Shop on 01827 715341
  • In person at the Council’s One Stop Shop or to the Tenancy Services Duty Officer
  • Email housingservices@northwarks.gov.uk

The information you provide will be treated strictly confidential.