Published on 7th October 2013
“Report tenancy fraud; it’s not right and it’s not fair” – that’s the message landlords across Gloucestershire are pushing this week as part of the national ‘Tenancy Fraud Awareness Week’.
Running from 7 – 11 October, social landlords across Gloucestershire, including Cheltenham Borough Homes (CBH), will be shining a spotlight on tenancy fraud and encouraging residents to come forward and report tenancy cheats.
Across the UK it is estimated that 98,000 housing association and council homes are occupied by someone who should not live there or has obtained their tenancy fraudulently either by unlawful subletting, obtaining a home by deception or wrongly claiming succession after someone dies.
To help spread the message CBH will be out and about in a community bus on Friday 11 October. The bus will be at Coronation Square from 9am to 12pm and will then move onto Oakley (Sainsburys Car Park) from 1:30pm to 4:00pm. Visitors to the bus will be able to find out more, report tenancy fraud, pick up promotional giveaways and enter a special quiz for their chance to win £50.00.
Paul Stephenson, Chief Executive at Cheltenham Borough Homes, said: “It is vital that we make the best use of the housing available and provide homes to those in genuine housing need. We take tenancy fraud very seriously and are working hard to make sure that homes are allocated fairly and given to those who are next in line.”
He added: “We are highlighting tenancy fraud this week to make sure that current and future tenants are aware of what it is and how to report it.”
CBH is also holding a key amnesty throughout October and is encouraging people to come forward and hand in keys connected to fraudulent tenancies.
In April CBH joined forces with other social landlords in Gloucestershire to create the Gloucestershire Tenancy Fraud Forum (GTFF) and launch a campaign to tackle tenancy fraud.
So far the campaign has featured radio advertising on Heart Gloucestershire, bus advertising, the launch of a dedicated website (www.tellustoday.co.uk) and tenancy fraud awareness training for frontline staff. Across the County, this has already led to 60 cases of tenancy fraud being identified and possession being obtained.
The social landlords which make up the GTFF are Stroud District Council, Rooftop Housing, Severn Vale Housing, Guinness Hermitage, Gloucester City Homes, Two Rivers Housing and Cheltenham Borough Homes.
Anyone wishing to report someone they suspect of committing tenancy fraud can call 0800 408 0000 or report it confidentially at www.tellustoday.co.uk
Contact: Catherine Best, communications officer, telephone: 01242 775317, email [email protected]
Notes for editors
Examples of tenancy fraud:
Unlawful subletting – where a tenant lets out their council or housing association home without the knowledge or permission of their landlord. They often continue to pay the rent for the property directly to their landlord, but charge the person they are subletting to a much higher rate. It is unlawful and unfair to sublet and to profit from a property which could be given to someone legally entitled to occupy it.
Obtaining housing by deception – where a person gets a council or housing association home by giving false information in their application, for example not telling the landlord they are renting another council or housing association property or giving false information about who lives with them.
Wrongly claimed succession – is where a tenant dies and someone, who is not entitled to, tries to take over or succeed the tenancy. For example, they might say they lived with the tenant before they died, when in fact they were living elsewhere.
Key selling – is where a tenant is paid to pass on their keys in return for a one-off payment to someone who then takes over the tenancy illegally.
Cheltenham Borough Homes:
- CBH is one of the top rated ALMOs (Arms Length Management Organisations) in the country. ALMOs are not for profit companies that run social housing services for their local council
- Currently CBH manage and maintain around 5,000 tenant and leasehold properties with high satisfaction and performance levels, when compared nationally with other housing providers
- CBH put their customers at the heart of what they do; working with them to shape services and ensure the company focuses on local need
- CBH deliver more than high quality core landlord services: they have an ongoing programme building new homes and regenerating communities; they support people to find work and employment; work to improve financial inclusion and develop stock to make it more energy efficient
For further information visit: www.cheltborohomes.org