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Crackdown On Illegal Subletting Launched

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Crackdown on illegal subletting launched

Social landlords are being encouraged to cross-check their records with one another as part of a government crackdown on the illegal subletting of homes.

Local authorities and housing associations will take part in an extension to the Audit Commission’s National Fraud Initiative, which has been studying wider data held by councils and other public authorities for more than ten years.

Housing minister John Healey said on July 31 that a co-ordinated anti-fraud drive against tenancy cheats could free 5,000–10,000 homes in two years. Anyone getting council or RSL homes should stick to the same rules as everyone else, he said.

Estimates suggest that the number of social homes sublet unlawfully by tenants ranges from one in 100 to one in 20 in some inner cities. The cost of recovering a property can be as little as £4,000 – significantly less than building a new home.

The National Housing Federation said it was fully behind the crackdown, which will include examining benefit records. It urged registered social landlords to co-operate with the commission. Councils that work closely with RSLs will be eligible for a share of £4m towards local anti-fraud work.

Commission chief executive Steve Bundred said: ‘We are delighted to be working with government and local authorities to root out fraudsters who exploit the social housing system for personal gain.’

Details of the anti-fraud initiative coincided with draft guidance from the Department for Communities and Local Government over proposed changes to the way social housing is allocated.

While councils will still be expected to give priority to those in greatest housing need, they will have more discretion to allocate homes to people with skills required by the local economy and those who have been on waiting lists the longest.

The government wants councils to ‘tackle the myths and misunderstandings’ around the allocation of social housing and consult tenants and residents over the setting of priorities. An Ipsos Mori poll carried out for the DCLG showed that just 23% of people believe social housing is allocated fairly by their local authority.

Anybody caught doing this should be banned from public funds for the rest of their lives.

Might just happen too, especially under a Tory government.

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I reported this going on in Tower Hamlets. Not interested. I bet you can guess why too!

Edited by HostPaul TAFKA Rover2000

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