16 February 2017

Tenancy amnesty returns six homes

Six families will be rehomed thanks to a tenancy fraud amnesty for council housing and temporary accommodation in the city.

The six homes returned through the amnesty were two three-bedroom, two two-bedroom and two one-bedroom properties. It brings the total of homes recovered from tenancy fraud this financial year to 20.

The amnesty ran throughout December and January, and offered tenants illegally subletting their homes or keeping a social housing tenancy while living elsewhere, the chance to hand their properties back to the council without fear of legal action.

A data-matching exercise is now being carried out to identify further illegal subletting and tenants not using their council property as their main home. Following the amnesty, legal action will be taken against anyone found to be committing housing fraud.

National figures suggest that tenancy fraud costs the public purse £18,000 a year for each property. With the high costs of housing people in temporary accommodation in the city, the savings for Brighton & Hove are likely to be significantly more.

Councillor Anne Meadows, Chair of the Housing & New Homes Committee, said: “There is a huge demand for housing in the city and it’s fantastic that the amnesty has freed up six homes that can now go to residents who need them. It has allowed us to get these homes back quickly without the additional costs of legal action. Tenancy fraud deprives residents in housing need at a huge cost to the city and we will continue to do all we can to tackle it.”

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