Hackney Council helping to lead London's fight against tenancy fraud
Hackney Council, working with Hackney Homes and other social housing providers in the borough, is one of London's top performers in tackling tenancy fraud.
Hackney recovered 159 properties and 81 housing applications were cancelled following investigations in 2013/14. This represents more than 10 per cent of all properties recovered in London in 2012/13, the last year for which comparative data is available.
Hackney is focussed on recovering the maximum number of misused properties so that these can be made available to those in genuine housing need without delay. We will use all means at our disposal to achieve this, including legal action and using new powers made available under recent legislation.
Cases investigated by the council during the period include a sub tenant who assumed the original tenant’s identity after they had moved abroad and then sub-sublet their property.Another case involved a tenant who was paying their rent using stolen credit cards while sub-letting the property.Council investigations also found a small number of Hackney tenants were living abroad in places such as Antigua, Australia, Columbia, Ecuador, France, Gambia, Ghana, India, Nigeria, South Africa, Turkey and the USA. These investigations all resulted in a property being recovered and then being used to house people in genuine need.
Where appropriate the Council will visit the address where a tenant is actually believed to be living to ensure the prompt return of illegally sub-let homes.
Those misusing their tenancies included a doctor, a nurse, an estate agent, a property developer, a business owner and a housing officer employed by another local authority.
Hackney is determined to ensure that our social housing stocks are used for those genuinely in need of housing assistance. We continue to take a firm stance against those involved in the subletting of social housing, which not only deprives families of permanent accommodation but also places a significant financial burden on the council at a time when we are already working hard despite reduced budgets to deliver services that are valued by our residents. We will continue to deal robustly with those who seek to defraud the Council. In the last two years we have recovered over 300 properties that have now been used to house those in genuine need.