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Tenancy Fraud

Crackdown on Tenancy Fraud in Bedford Borough

 

Bedford Borough Council and bpha are asking for help to identify tenancy fraud across the Bedford Borough.

 

Social housing tenancy fraud is a national problem.  Typically, housing tenancy fraud involves Council or housing association homes being illegally sublet or people lying about their circumstances to get a tenancy. The result is that homes are occupied by people who are not entitled to live there and thus increasing demand for Councils to provide temporary accommodation for families desperately in need of affordable homes.

 

To tackle this problem Bedford Borough Council’s Fraud Investigation Service has embarked on a joint working programme with bpha to investigate social housing fraud within the Borough.  The initiative started in 2015, since then 40 properties have been recovered as a result of tenancy fraud cases - meaning more properties are available for those in need of social housing. In addition, 6 criminal prosecutions and 10 cautions have been taken against those involved in tenancy fraud.

 

Bedford Borough Council’s Fraud Investigation Service’s most recent tenancy/benefit fraud awareness exercise was carried out in July and August within the borough. Across the 2 day operation, 59 properties were visited to confirm bpha’s properties were being occupied by the genuine tenants and that any Council benefits or discounts were being paid correctly.

 

Cllr Michael Headley, Portfolio Holder for Finance, said: “People who sublet social housing may be committing tenancy fraud and are denying families in need of a place to call their own. Housing tenancy fraud not only disadvantages the most vulnerable members of our community, but also increases pressure on other services at a time when Bedford Borough Council faces continued cuts in funding. If you know someone who has moved elsewhere, but is keeping their existing bpha tenancy; subletting it to someone else; or someone who lied to get their house, then report it to the Council and help stamp out tenancy fraud.”

 

By addressing the issue of Tenancy Fraud Bedford Borough Council aims to increase the number of Social Housing tenancies available across the Borough and take action against those who deliberately and dishonestly abuse the system for their own gain.


In order for the Council to be able to identify potential offences, we are asking for your assistance in being vigilant and aware of the risks of Tenancy Fraud.  If you suspect that someone may have lied on their application for housing, has moved elsewhere, but is keeping their existing bpha tenancy, or may be subletting their home please contact the Investigations Team by emailing Fraud@bedford.gov.uk and reporting your concerns, all calls/information provided will be handled in the strictest confidence. 

 

You can also confidentially report Tenancy Fraud to the Council:

 

•           By calling Freephone number 0800 917 8491

•           By visiting the Council’s Customer Care centre in Horne Lane

•           By filling in a form online at http://www.bedford.gov.uk/

 

You can also report any suspicions to bpha in confidence on 0330 100 0272 or email info@bpha.org.uk

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