Tenancy fraud

Tenancy fraud harms the borough because it results in:

  • us losing much needed social housing to the private sector
  • longer waiting lists for residents needing housing
  • unlawful occupants often living in poor housing conditions
  • expensive repairs when the unauthorised occupant leaves

This is why we urge residents to report tenancy fraud when they suspect it.

Examples of tenancy fraud:

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
When a tenant gets a tenancy by giving false information in their application. For example, they don't tell us they already have a tenancy elsewhere or own a home.
Every council tenant must use their council property as their only or principle home. It is a breach of tenancy if they:
  • fail to occupy the property in this way
  • do not notify us of intended absences that last over three months
Misrepresenting information to exercise the Right to Buy
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. It's a form of tenancy fraud if the tenant:
  • isn't using our property as their main home
  • provides false information such as the length of a joint applicant's occupation in our home

To protect public funds we also require all applicants to complete a supplementary form and provide evidence how they intend to purchase the property.

When a tenant moves out of the property, leaving the property empty.

Action we'll take

It is a criminal offence to commit tenancy fraud. If we have evidence a tenant has committed tenancy fraud we will seek to prosecute at court. The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 carries a sentence of up to two years and/or a fine up to £5,000.

We can make a claim for:

  • any profit made from tenancy fraud to be repaid to the council
  • possession of the home through the courts
  • any rent arrears and legal costs
rating button