Tip-offs 'vital' in war on EDDC tenancy cheats

PUBLISHED: 12:29 08 December 2009 | UPDATED: 00:39 16 June 2010

TENANCY cheats in East Devon will be targeted in the first-ever national crackdown to recover up to 10,000 council and housing association homes fraudulently sublet and release them to those in real need.

TENANCY cheats in East Devon will be targeted in the first-ever national crackdown to recover up to 10,000 council and housing association homes fraudulently sublet and release them to those in real need.

On Monday, the Government's housing minister, John Healey, launched the crackdown on those who can earn thousands of pounds a year by unlawfully subletting their council homes at higher rents.

If caught, they will lose their tenancy and could lose their right to social housing in future.

As public tip-offs are vital in tackling the fraudsters - half the homes recovered are after neighbours' tip-offs - Mr Healey is offering a £500 bounty to anyone whose information leads to the recovery of one of the first 1,000 homes.

The Audit Commission suggests 50,000 homes may be fraudulently sublet.

East Devon District Council is among 147 councils to sign up to the Government crackdown.

Working alongside housing associations in their areas, councils will benefit from a share of £4million to set up their own anti-fraud initiatives - including special hotlines and crack squads to investigate allegations of fraud.

Mr Healey handed councils and housing associations around 8,000 leads to follow to catch potential tenancy cheats in their communities, found through data sweeps by the Audit Commission matching tenancy records against records held by councils, housing associations and other public bodies.

The average cost of recovering a property from a tenancy cheat can be as little as £3,000 - while the total cost of building a new council or housing association home can reach well over £100,000.


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