Leeds ,
01
February
2016
|
17:33
Europe/London

Residents encouraged to blow the whistle on housing cheats

Leeds residents are being asked to blow the whistle on housing cheats.

That’s the message of the third Yorkshire and Humber Tenancy Fraud Awareness week.

Running from 1 to 5 February, social landlords across the region are again joining forces to shine a spotlight on tenancy fraud and encourage people to come forward and report tenancy swindlers.

Leeds City Council has recovered over 250 properties from housing cheats and has a dedicated team who investigate and prosecute those who use or obtain their council property fraudulently.

Subletting your council or housing sssociation property is a crime, and Leeds City Council has taken its first successful criminal prosecution under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013.

The council is now targeting tenants who attempt to sublet their council homes using internet sites. A former council tenant was recently convicted under the Fraud Act after advertising her council home and taking a month’s rent and deposit from an unsuspecting member of the public.

Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council executive board member for communities said:

“These cases highlight the hidden dangers of subletting from a council tenant. You could be left out of pocket and with nowhere to live. When somebody does not use their council property or lets it out to someone else they are depriving the many people who genuinely need social housing.

"We will not stand for any type of tenancy fraud and will take action against those who try to cheat the system.

"If you know of anyone who has gained or uses a council home by dishonest means then we need you to tell us.”

Housing fraud includes subletting, not occupying the property or giving false details on a housing application.

Housing fraud can be reported anonymously by calling Housing Leeds on 0800 188 4000 or by emailing tenancyfraud@leeds.gov.uk.