tenancy fraud

Tenancy fraud is illegal and stops those in genuine need from having access to affordable housing.

believe housing is one of nine social housing providers and six councils in the North East Tenancy Fraud Forum, working together and with residents to identify and combat tenancy fraud. 

We also have strategic partnership with our local authority, Durham County Council.

Working closely with our Safer Neighbourhoods Team, the council’s Corporate Fraud Team investigates referrals relating to our homes.

It helps us to recover homes where tenancy fraud has been committed and prevent tenancies where there was a fraudulent element to the housing application.

Importantly, it also provides assurances that tenancies are being genuinely occupied.

We can all help to tackle tenancy fraud and there are some key things you can look out for:

  • Informal comments from neighbours.
  • Car regularly parked on driveway that does not belong to the tenant or tenant’s household.
  • Wheelie bins are not out for an extended period of time.
  • You know the person living there has another tenancy/property somewhere else.
  • A sudden change in who’s living in the home.
  • Someone being vague about who lives in the property or their relationship with them.
  • If your neighbour’s passed away and a friend or family member’s now living in the home.
  • The home seems to be abandoned.
  • Your neighbour’s talking about their landlord as a person, rather than a housing association or council.
  • You suspect that someone is not using their home as they should be.
  • You notice unusual activity at a property such as people coming and going with suitcases or large bags.

Examples of tenancy fraud include:

Application fraud where somebody lies about their circumstances to get a property or to be moved up the housing list. This could prevent those in the most need from getting a property and could mean families end up in temporary accommodation unnecessarily.

Illegal sub-letting where a council or housing association tenant does not live in their property and then rents part or all of it out to somebody else. This can result in sub-tenants being exploited. Also, the tenant may be illegally profiting from the sub-let.

Right to buy / Right to acquire fraud where somebody lies or provides false information to enable them to buy their property when they would otherwise not be entitled to (for example, if they are not living at the property). This reduces the number of properties available for those who need them. As a result, more properties may need to be built and this is expensive.

Abandonment where somebody has a property but does not live in it and lives somewhere else instead. These properties remain empty or might be getting used as storage. They could be used by somebody with a greater need instead.

Succession fraud where somebody lies about living in a property to enable them to get the tenancy after someone has died. People may do this to keep a property they do not need or would not get if they had to follow the normal application process.

Key selling where the tenant passes on their keys in return for a one-off payment.

Unlawful assignment where a resident stops using their tenancy as their main or principal home, allowing another person to live there without permission.

reporting tenancy fraud

Anyone suspecting tenancy fraud can report their concerns in confidence by texting 07797 870 192 starting your message with the word ‘fraud’.