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Social landlords' anti-fraud alliance catches crooks

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Social landlords' anti-fraud alliance catches crooks

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Legal

Fraud Fraud

Image: Fraud via Shutterstock

An alliance of Gloucestershire social landlords has identified 132 cases of fraud since joining forces to tackle criminal tenants.

Since starting in April 2013, the Gloucestershire Tenancy Fraud Forum has led to 70 properties being recovered which have since been re-let to applicants on Gloucestershire Homeseeker.

A campaign involving radio advertising on Heart Gloucestershire, bus advertising, a dedicated website and tenancy fraud awareness training for frontline staff.

Examples of the types of tenancy fraud the alliance has battled include unlawful subletting, obtaining a home by deception, abandonment of a property, wrongly claiming succession after a death and selling on the keys of a home for a one-off payment.

The Audit Commission estimates that each case of tenancy fraud costs the public purse an average of £18,000 a year.

Kevin Topping, Stroud District Council's tenancy manager and chair of the GTFF, said: "There isn't enough social housing to meet the needs of people who genuinely need it. We have to make the best use of the housing available and ensure that it is occupied by those who are legally entitled to do so. People waiting for social housing will have to wait even longer if homes continue to be occupied by those who have no right to be there.

"Anyone who suspects that someone may be committing tenancy fraud can let us know and we'll deal with their concerns in the strictest confidence."

The social landlords which make up the GTFF are Stroud District Council, Rooftop Housing, Severn Vale Housing, Guinness Hermitage, Gloucester City Homes, Cheltenham Borough Homes and Two Rivers Housing.

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