Standing up to tenancy fraud in the South East

Riverside is committed to standing up against tenancy cheats. This is a wider South East problem, with all local authorities tackling the issue. A dedicated Riverside team, operating out of the Dartford office, launched a confidential Key Amnesty this month to help those breaking the law come forward without fear of prosecution, with the recovery of property central to the campaign.

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Tenancy cheats are stealing from your friends, family and the community. It is not a victimless crime and impacts on us all. Every property being used fraudulently stops another household in need from accessing that affordable housing.

Tenancy Fraud holds a penalty of up to 2 years in prison and a £50,000 fine.

So far we have successfully managed to recover eleven properties, saving Riverside in your community over £250,000. There are currently another six tenants going through court proceedings. The Tenancy Fraud team is working together with tenants to return Riverside properties back to the people and families that truly deserve them. We are also working closely with other agencies to share data to take a firm approach tackling tenancy cheats.

We received a report about a property that had people constantly moving in and out. Investigations showed the tenant, a social worker, was meant to occupy the three- bedroom property with his wife and four children. We uncovered the tenant owned another property, that his wife had passed away in 2012 and that he was allowing his cousin and her family to sublet the property. The tenant was then interviewed under caution, and when presented with the evidence, admitted he was illegally subletting renting the Riverside property. The cousin was served four weeks’ notice and the property was recovered.

Investigations revealed that a large three-bedroom family house with a garden in Mitcham was being sub-let.

The tenants, an immigration officer and local authority worker, had moved out and purchased a three-bedroom house in an exclusive area in Kent, whilst sub-letting the Riverside property to various tenants.

Fraud Officers visited the tenants at the property they owned in Kent on a Saturday morning and when confronted with the evidence they admitted to the offence and immediately agreed to sign back their tenancy. The property was recovered and the tenants were reported to their employers for their criminal offence.

What is tenancy fraud?

  • Subletting
  • False applications
  • Unauthorised assignment
  • False succession

Riverside has a duty to house certain vulnerable members of society including children, and families. While people are illegally using Riverside properties for subletting or queue jumping, households are left waiting on the housing list.

The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 means tenants committing tenancy fraud in social housing tenancies now risk criminal investigation and prosecution in addition to the risk of losing their tenancy and significant court costs.

What can you do?

Stand up for your friends, family and community, report any suspicious activity, illegal subletting , in strictest confidence. You can make a real difference! You can report any suspicious activity in confidence to [email protected] or call 07816 071781

Key Amnesty

Until Monday 11th December 2015 Riverside is giving tenancy cheats the opportunity to take part in a key amnesty. We are encouraging tenants to come forward in confidence and hand back their keys to avoid prosecution.