Council forms alliance in housing fraud crackdown
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Housing, Legal
FraudImage: Fraud via Shutterstock
City of York Council has joined forces with eight social housing providers across the region as part of a crackdown on tenancy fraud.
The alliance will focus on identifying and prosecuting people who lie about their circumstances in order to obtain social housing, tenants who unlawfully sublet their property, tenants who stop living at their homes and people who provide false information to gain a property through succession rights.
Over the last two years, Veritau, a company joint-owned by York Council and North Yorkshire County Council which investigates fraud within the public sector, has freed over 40 misused properties, allowing them to be legitimately let.
Veritau has additionally provided information to prevent 15 false applications for housing to City of York Council.
The company has now partnered with Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, Richmondshire District Council, Broadacres Housing Association, Harrogate Borough Council, Yorkshire Housing, Craven District Council, York Housing Association and Selby District Council in a crackdown on tenancy scams.
The new Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013, which is due to become law later this year, is expected to give the alliance new powers. The legislation specifically outlaws the unlawful subletting of social housing properties and gives investigators new powers to obtain information.
Councillor Linsay Cunningham-Cross, York’s cabinet member for crime and stronger communities, said: “We plan to stop those dishonest profiteers from exploiting homes at the expense of some of our most vulnerable people.
"This campaign, with the cooperation of honest neighbours, will help do just that. Housing fraud costs everyone too dearly to allow anyone to get away with it and I appeal to anyone with concerns that neighbouring social housing may be being abused to come forward.”