1 December 2016

Amnesty puts tenancy fraud in the spotlight

People committing tenancy fraud in council housing and temporary accommodation can avoid legal action by handing their property back as part of an amnesty being introduced by Brighton & Hove City Council.

The tenancy fraud amnesty runs from 1 December until 31 January next year.

During that time, tenants illegally subletting their homes or keeping a social housing tenancy while living elsewhere, can return their properties to the council without fear of further action.

Tenants will need to leave the property unoccupied and empty of all belongings, and sign a surrender notice.

Keys can be handed in at:

  • Bartholomew House, Bartholomew Square, Brighton, BN1 1JE
  • Portslade Town Hall, Victoria Road, Portslade, BN41 1YF
  • Whitehawk Community Hub, 179a Whitehawk Road, Brighton, BN2 5FL
  • Lavender Street Housing Office, Lavender Street, Brighton BN2 1JU ​

The amnesty precedes a new data-matching exercise in the new year to identify illegal subletting and people not using their council property as their main home. Legal action will be taken against all housing fraud uncovered following the amnesty.

Councillor Anne Meadows, Chair of the Housing & New Homes Committee, said:

“We have a huge demand for housing in the city. Tenancy fraud deprives residents in genuine need at a huge cost to the city and it’s vital we do all we can to tackle it.

“Last year, our work on fraud returned 26 properties to us, but anecdotal evidence and national data suggests that there are likely to be many more.

“The amnesty offers us the chance to get properties back quickly and cheaply, before our next data-matching push in the new year.”

Tenants looking for more information on the amnesty can call Housing Customer Services on 01273 293030 or email housing.customerservices@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

If anyone suspects someone isn’t living in their council house or is subletting it, they can report it in confidence by calling the council on 01273 291847 or emailing anti-fraud@brighton-hove.gov.uk.