Published: Friday August 15, 2014
Councils across Yorkshire and Humber have joined forces to combat tenancy fraud, and are encouraging the public to report instances of fraud as part of this week's regional Tenancy Fraud Awareness Week 2014.
Approximately 98,000 housing association and council homes across the UK are fraudulently occupied, be it by those who have illegally sublet properties; obtained their homes through deceptive means, or those who have wrongly claimed succession after a previous tenant's death. In some cases, properties are occupied by people who have no entitlement to them in the first place.
Tenancy fraud became a criminal offence last year as part of the Prevention of Social Fraud Act 2013, and is a crime which can have a huge effect on local communities. As Leeds City Council's Peter Gruen explains:
"When somebody with a council or housing association home rents it out without permission or obtains a home through providing false information, they are guilty of housing fraud. They are using up valuable housing spaces and depriving families and vulnerable people on the waiting list."
With demand for council and social housing across the country increasing and a growing number of vulnerable individuals falling in to rental arrears, it has never been more important for local authorities and their constituents to join together and tackle tenancy fraud.
Neil Cole, Client Account Manager at GBGroup, explains the steps that can be taken:
"The Fraud that exists in Housing Associations is often hidden by inaccurate and out of date data. Access to external data (like that provided by GBGroup and others) can uncover Fraud but it can also provide other benefits; an efficient New Occupant identification and verification of entitlement; monitoring for changes in residents and contact details; encourage the shift to digital engagement by appending e-mail addresses to tenants contact details; encouraging prompt payment of rents with reminders to mobile numbers; and the tracing of former tenant arrears.
All of these things work together to reduce the amount of Fraud into the future, with the added benefit of lowering cost of administration."
Those wishing to report fraud should visit their local council's website for more details. For more information on the ways in which GBGroup can help to combat tenancy fraud, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org