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Council seizes dozens of illegally occupied properties

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Council seizes dozens of illegally occupied properties

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

Tenants set to benefit from £2.5 million interest Tenants set to benefit from £2.5 million interest

A London council successfully recovered 71 properties which were either unoccupied or illegally occupied during 2013.

In November alone, Newham Council took possession of 11 properties, two of which were recovered through court orders and nine which were retrieved through proactive casework by council officers.

The local authority says that the reclaimed homes have now been made available for people on its housing waiting list.

Cllr Andrew Baikie, executive member for housing and customer service, said: “Tenancy fraud such as this costs the council thousands of pounds and deprives residents who may have been on the housing list for years of a home.

"We have a shortage of high quality homes available and thousands of people waiting for a council property so it is imperative that our housing stock is distributed fairly. We know that the majority of our tenants live in their properties legally but it is important that we tackle those who are committing fraud.”

The council's latest seizures include:

  • A flat repossessed as abandoned after a notice to quit was served with follow-up checks confirming the tenant had left the country.
  • A property in which a tenant had died and a family member claimed a right to succeed. Checks showed the claimant had not lived at the property for at least a year before the tenant died.
  • A property which was recovered after a possession order was obtained against the tenant for rent arrears. Police discovered cannabis was being cultivated at the address.
  • A home in which the tenant was claiming benefits from another address.
  • A council home where the tenant vacated the address, leaving an unauthorised occupant in residence. A possession order was obtained.

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