New Year, new homes for first residents to be housed under key amnesty
Published by David Thomas for The Barnet Group in Housing and also in Bill Payments, Local Government
Barnet Council’s Corporate Anti Fraud Team in conjunction with Barnet Homes’ Tenancy Fraud Team launched a highly successful key amnesty campaign in October which has resulted in two sets of residents being housed in time for the New Year.
The first set of residents moved into the vacant properties in time for a fresh start to 2014 as a result of the campaign, which targeted people illegally subletting council properties.
As a result of the amnesty, 16 sets of keys were handed in, freeing up properties for residents in genuine housing need.
Mum-of-one, Ms Nabiye Uzun, said she was very happy to be able to get a ground floor property which is also near to her teenage son’s school:
“I am very happy with the move as I have a medical condition and lost my job as a result. My previous property had stairs, which made getting about at home very difficult for me. I love the Friern Barnet area and my son is still near his school, so getting this property has worked out really well for me.”
Mr and Mrs McDermott were living in a three bedroom property in Dollis Valley and wanted a smaller home that was easier to afford as they were affected by the under occupying charge, introduced by the government’s welfare reform bill in 2013. They downsized to a one-bedroom flat in East Barnet, also in time for the New Year.
“Although our new property is smaller, there is still a nice area for gardening, which we both enjoy and find very therapeutic,” said Mr McDermott.
Tracey Lees, Barnet Homes’ Chief Executive said: “We are delighted by the spectacular success of the key amnesty campaign and look forward to welcoming more deserving families to their new homes. We know the overwhelming majority of tenants occupy their homes legally and that they also share our commitment to tackling tenancy fraud. Well done and thanks to everyone who helped achieve this result.”
Cllr Tom Davey, Cabinet Member for Housing said: “This is an amazing result and highlights the importance of effective management of housing stock in London. This scheme has effectively generated the equivalent of just over £2m in capital and saved the taxpayer around £250,000 a year in temporary accommodation costs. I am very pleased that families in need will now receive keys to their new homes.” *
Residents wishing to report somebody who may be illegally subletting their home can still do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, by visiting www.barnet.gov.uk or by calling the fraud hotline on 020 8359 2007.