We take tenancy fraud seriously, not only because it can result in the unlawful occupation of council housing, but also because it deprives legitimate applicants of a home and results in them staying in costly temporary accommodation.
Tenancy fraud is also a criminal offence under the prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 carries a sentence of up to 2 years and/or an unlimited fine.
What is tenancy fraud
There are different types of tenancy fraud. Examples include:
Unlawful subletting - when a tenant moves out and rents out their home without our permission. This includes tenants who move out of their property leaving other family members living in the property.
Getting a tenancy by giving false information- this is when a tenant gets a tenancy by giving false information in their application to join the housing waiting list, to succeed to a tenancy or to join a tenancy.
Non occupation- every tenant must use our property as their only or principle home.
Abandonment - when a tenant moves out of the property, leaving the property empty
Misrepresenting information to exercise the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire - some tenants are able to buy their home through the Right to Buy scheme. These schemes allow tenants to buy their homes at a discount. Right to Buy fraud can occur when:
- false information is provided
- when the property is subject to other types of tenancy fraud such as subletting.
- where there is an agreement with a third party to buy the property for a cash incentive
What actions we take against tenancy fraud
The tri borough corporate anti-fraud team investigates all reports of tenancy fraud and takes action where there is sufficient evidence.
If we have evidence a tenant has committed tenancy fraud we may:
- seek to prosecute at court
- make a claim for any profit made from tenancy fraud to be repaid to the council
- make a claim for possession of their home through the courts
- make a claim for any rent arrears and legal costs
How to report tenancy fraud
If you suspect a tenant is committing tenancy fraud, please report it. You can do this by:
- filling in our online form
- contacting the fraud hotline on 020 7361 2777
- contacting us directly on 0800 358 3783
- contact your area service centre
Please note that:
- investigations are confidential and can take time to complete
- we can only take action if the property is a Westminster city council property
- we will always keep your identity confidential
- will let you know the outcome if we can