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Tenancy fraud | Fraud | Sandwell Council

Fraud

Tenancy fraud

Sandwell Council is committed to providing housing for genuine tenants. Unfortunately tenancy fraud has quickly become one of the largest areas of fraud that councils currently have to tackle. Not only does such fraud cost Sandwell tax payers it also dramatically reduces the numbers of properties Sandwell has available to rent, depriving families and vulnerable people who are waiting on the 'Choice Based Lettings' register.

Report tenancy fraud

What is tenancy fraud?

Tenancy fraud is the unlawful occupation of social housing. There are various ways it can be committed, both from the outset of a tenancy being taken on or as time goes on. For instance a property could be gained based on false information where a tenant intentionally lies to ensure they are housed or are awarded priority when applying.

Once housed a tenant may sublet the property, without authorisation, to a third party often for profit. In some cases even advertising with letting agents, in shop windows or on the internet.

A tenant may simply abandon or fail to occupy the property leaving it empty or only returning on brief occasions to collect post.

There can also be instances when a member of the family/household have wrongly succeeded a tenancy, after the original tenant has left or passed away.

Exchanges and assignments without authorisation from the council are also tenancy fraud.

Fighting tenancy fraud

Sandwell Council is already working on various data sources to identify tenancy fraud, including the National Fraud Initiative. It has also already taken measures to prevent fraud getting into the system in the first instance. Officers have now been specifically assigned to investigate and interview persons suspected to be committing tenancy fraud. The council will impose sanctions on the culprits and seek maximum publicity in order to act as a deterrent to others.

Those found to be committing tenancy fraud face a number of penalties:

  • Losing their council property.
  • Being excluded from applying for council properties in the future.
  • Receiving an offical caution for offence(s) committed.
  • Prosecution, resulting in a criminal record.
  • Details of any prosecution appearing in the local and national press.
  • A prison sentence.

Other ways to contact us

You can email the team at: fraud_investigation@sandwell.gov.uk

Alternatively you can write to: Counter Fraud Unit, PO Box 16328, Oldbury, B69 9EZ.