Social housing fraudsters offered amnesty
Housing fraudsters can swerve a fine or even prison by surrendering their keys as part of a month-long amnesty.
The Vale of Aylesbury Housing Trust, which prosecutes people for tenancy fraud, has uncovered six cases of housing fraud this year.
To prevent further cases, the trust is offering fraudsters the chance to hand in keys during October.
Ian Silver, director of housing and community services, said: “Holding an amnesty for people committing housing fraud is a bold step.
“But we hope it will send a strong message to these criminals and encourage them to do the right thing.”
Housing fraud can lead to a fine of up to £5,000 for a first offence, or a prison sentence of up to two years.
The tenancy fraud amnesty applies during October only.
Tenants must hand the keys to the trust with a notice of termination, ensuring the property is empty and the rent account is clear.
From November 1, the trust will adopt a zero-tolerance approach to tenancy fraud.
The National Fraud Authority estimated tenancy fraud cost councils and housing associations £1.8 billion in 2013.
The most common types of tenancy fraud are unlawful subletting, obtaining housing by deception and wrongly claimed succession.
If you suspect someone is carrying out tenancy fraud, call 01296 732600 or email [email protected]