Published Monday, 23rd November 2015
We are cracking down on social housing tenancy fraudsters who prevent families in real housing need from moving into permanent homes and cost the taxpayer thousands of pounds each year.
The Council, working with the Surrey Counter Fraud Partnership, Raven Housing Trust and other social housing providers in the borough, has launched a new publicity campaign, “Don’t stop his family having a home!” asking for residents’ help by reporting suspicions they may have about fraudulent tenancy activity.
Our experienced investigators will act on referrals, which are treated in strict confidence. Where fraud is uncovered, the affected properties will be put back into use for those waiting for a permanent home, giving those families a better life and saving taxpayers an average of £18,000 per home brought back into use.
It's a crime
Cllr Rita Renton, Executive Member for Housing and Welfare, said: “We know that some families and individuals in need of housing are currently being denied it due to tenancy fraud. Social housing is a scarce resource which must be protected to provide homes for those with genuine need, not to be misused by fraudsters to make money at others’ expense. Fraudsters should be under no illusion that tenancy fraud is a crime and we are working with the Surrey Counter Fraud Partnership to crack down on this issue and prosecute offenders.
“I would ask anyone with information about or suspicions of tenancy fraud to report it so that we can investigate. Recovering properties saves valuable resources and gives honest families currently in temporary accommodation not only the chance of a new home but a better life.”
What is tenancy fraud?
The most common types of tenancy fraud include:
- Moving out of social housing and renting it to someone else (sub-letting)
- Moving out of social housing and leaving it empty
- Providing false information to obtain a tenancy (deception)
- Making a fraudulent application to ‘succeed’ – i.e. obtain rights to remain in the property, after the current tenant dies
- Illegally passing a social housing to someone else
- Taking (or making) a payment for a mutual exchange.
Anyone with information or suspicions about tenancy fraud can report it online at www.reigate-banstead.gov.uk/fraud, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling our confidential fraud hotline on 01737 276620. Reports can be made anonymously and all information provided will be treated in strict confidence.
See the Reporting fraud page for more information about housing fraud and the other types of fraud the Council deals with.
Surrey Counter Fraud Partnership
The Surrey Counter Fraud Partnership (SCFP) formed in 2014 to tackle fraud and has eight member districts. Each district employs experienced investigators dedicated to examining potential frauds and tax evasions. The partnership strengthens council and housing associations' abilities to detect and prevent fraud through partnership working.
The SCFP proactively identifies potential fraud across all of the participating Surrey based local authorities. Information supplied is cross checked with organisations like Companies House and credit reference agencies as well as other local government data. This work assists in uncovering the more complex and sophisticated fraudulent activities that perpetrators seek to achieve.
Surrey Counter Fraud Partnership members are:
- Surrey County Council
- Mole Valley District Council
- Runnymede Borough Council
- Elmbridge Borough Council
- Spelthorne Borough Council Surrey
- Heath Borough Council
- Tandridge District Council
- Waverley Borough Council
- Reigate & Banstead Borough Council