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Enfield Council cracks down on social housing cheats

Published Thursday, 25 April 2013

Enfield Council has been awarded £200,000 to continue its successful work to combat social housing fraud and provide more housing to people who really need it.

towers The Council’s Counter Fraud team, supported by Enfield Homes, submitted a bid for additional funding to Central Government in February 2013 and has just received confirmation that the bid was successful - Enfield Council is one of 62 councils to benefit from a share of the money.  

The Counter Fraud Team will receive £200,000, the maximum amount of money available, over the next two years. 

In May 2010 the council set up a small team called the Housing Investigation Team which has been working in conjunction with Enfield Homes and local housing associations to tackle housing fraud and the unlawful subletting of properties.

The team has been conducting tenancy audits and investigating allegations of housing fraud, and to date they have carried out over 700 visits and tenancy audits, conducted 380 investigations, and recovered 120 properties which have been illegally sublet.

The Government has recently introduced The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013, which from this summer will make it a criminal offence to sublet your council or housing association property. This new piece of legislation will enable Enfield Council’s Housing Investigation Team to prosecute any tenant which it finds subletting their property. Tenants found abusing their tenancies could receive a fine and a prison sentence of up to two years whilst the council will be able to recover and keep all the profits made by the tenant as a result of subletting. 

In addition to the Government funding, Enfield Council has recognised the importance of this work and has committed further funding to help increase the resources in the Housing Investigation Team.

Cllr Andrew Stafford, Cabinet Member for Finance and Property said “People who sublet their council home are not only denying housing to those in need, but they are costing the taxpayer money and are profiting from fraud.

“This is why I wholeheartedly welcome both local authorities and the police being given these greater powers to crack down on such criminal behaviour with this £200,000 funding.

“This will help our award winning Counter Fraud team continue to work collaboratively with Enfield Homes, and other registered social landlords to tackle tenancy fraud cheats.  It will also allow us to recruit more housing investigators to prevent and detect housing fraud.”

If you have any concerns about who is occupying the property next to you or if you would like to make a referral, in confidence, to the Housing Investigation Team Hotline, please call 0208 379 4289.

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