The Royal Borough’s Corporate Anti-Fraud Service (CAFS) works closely with the Housing Management Department and with Housing Associations across the borough to prevent, detect and deter tenancy fraud.
What is housing and tenancy fraud?
Housing fraud involves obtaining properties by deception. For example, people claiming to be homeless when they already own a property or are already living at an address.
Tenancy fraud is the fraudulent use of social housing such as sub-letting for profit or continuing to claim to be living at a property when they have moved out.
The Council has a duty to house certain vulnerable members of society and are often forced to use temporary accommodation outside the Royal Borough due to a shortage of housing.
In addition, families or individuals on the housing waiting list are denied housing because people are using properties for profit. Fraudulently obtaining affordable housing or subletting for personal gain uses up valuable resources that should be available to families in need.
Since 2015 over 250 tenancy and housing frauds have been stopped, including over 150 properties that have been recovered and have now been allocated to families in genuine need of assistance.
Here’s a selection of cases which have been successfully investigated:
Housing Management referred a file to CAFS when suspicion arose regarding the residency of a tenant in Chelsea. This was not the first-time concerns had been raised. Previously CAFS had unsuccessfully investigated a similar referral which suggested subletting at the address.
Using powers under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act investigators established a link between the tenant and an address in Chigwell. It transpired that the tenant owned the Chigwell property, and according to the London Borough of Redbridge, they had been resident for some time. A Notice to Quit was served, and the property was subsequently recovered
Following the death of a Council tenant, the tenant’s son had made a Succession Application stating that he had been resident at the address, however, investigations identified an alternative address for the son along with evidence of his residency there. His application to succeed the tenancy was false.
Confronted with the information the son withdrew his application.
Help us crackdown on fraudsters
If you have information regarding tenancy fraud, you can speak in confidence to the Corporate Anit-Fraud Service on 020 7361 2777, use our Fraud Reporting form or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated: 10 February 2020