Housing associations offer amnesty for tenancy fraudsters
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Legal
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A group made up of some of London's largest social landlords has announced a two-month amnesty to give tenancy fraudsters a chance to hand over their keys without the fear of prosecution.
With tenancy fraud costing the public £1.8 billion a year, and with one in 10 Londoners on council house waiting lists, the capital’s g15 housing association group is determined to tackle the issue.
This week, illegal subletting of social homes becomes a criminal offence as well as a civil matter, with crooks now facing two years in prison and a £50,000 fine.
The g15 tenancy fraud group's chair, Joe Joseph, said: “We will take legal action to recover our properties if necessary, so we can offer more homes to people who need them. G15 members have dedicated teams working with councils to identify tenancy fraud, and we have recovered 65 homes since April. But we want to give people the opportunity to avoid prison for subletting offences. We won’t prosecute anyone for tenancy fraud who hands back their keys before 30 November."
“The landlords taking part are launching a communication campaign that includes posters and leaflets to make people aware of the change in law and the amnesty. I would encourage anyone who is subletting to hand back their keys to avoid any further action.”
Alan Bryce, head of counter fraud at the Audit Commission, said: "Housing providers are getting better at identifying and punishing tenancy fraudsters, with nearly three times as many caught in this year than just 4 years ago. This key amnesty is the last chance for tenancy fraudsters to do the right thing for their community and to escape punishment."
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