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Tenancy fraud crackdown at Christmas

Published Monday, 08 December 2014

A campaign has been launched this week to encourage residents to report tenancy fraud to Enfield Council and Enfield Homes.

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Last year 65 properties were recovered and brought back into lawful use after tenancy fraud was discovered. Cases have included properties that are sublet, left empty or are no longer being occupied by the tenant as their main home, as well as cases where the tenant has passed away and relatives falsely claim succession rights.

A further 42 properties were brought back into use in 2012/13, and even more properties are expected to be recovered this year which can then be used to house those in urgent need of a home.

Earlier this year local authorities were given special powers to obtain information from a number of sources such as banks and utility companies to help the fight against fraud.

Cllr Andrew Stafford, Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance said “Every year housing fraud costs the taxpayer thousands of pounds, as greedy tenants who have secured a council property sublet it for cash, sometimes to an unsuspecting person.

“Subletting and other offences can carry a harsh penalty; the maximum sentence is a two year prison stretch. So we want anyone who suspects their neighbour may be letting their council home, or living away from their council premises to call us.”

Cllr Ahmet Oykener, Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Estate Regeneration said “There is a huge need for social housing in Enfield, and a very long waiting list for accommodation. We’re working really hard to provide a large enough supply of housing in this borough and we won’t allow those efforts to be derailed by tenancy fraud.

“We will not tolerate tenancy fraud, it robs the council of a vital property that could be given to someone desperately in need of a home so when we find criminal activity linked to one of our properties we will act to return it to a tenant in genuine need.”

To report the fraudulent use of a council property call, in confidence, the Housing Investigation Team Hotline 020 8379 4289

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