Stop it, report it - housing fraud

This week, Gentoo and a number of local authorities and housing associations, are taking part in a national week to tackle housing fraud. 

Across the UK, it is estimated that there are thousands of social rented properties occupied by someone who should not be living there or who have obtained their tenancy fraudulently.

However, when rents are being paid on time and there are no complaints it is easy to assume that fraud is not an issue for Gentoo. As a responsible landlord, we need to ensure that we make the best use of our homes and ensure that those occupying our properties have the legal right to do so. Because of fraudsters, those on our waiting list and most in need of social housing will have to wait longer to be housed.

Back in 2013, the Government estimated that £845 million was lost to housing tenancy fraud and this figure has continued to rise.

There are different types of tenancy fraud including:

  • Unlawful Subletting - where a tenant rents out their home without the knowledge or permission of the landlord;
  • Key Selling - where a resident is paid to pass on their keys in return for a one-off payment;
  • Obtaining housing by deception - where a person gets a home by giving false information on their housing application;
  • Undeclared / Wrongly Claimed Succession - where the resident dies and the ‘successor’ does not declare their succession (possibly because they are not entitled) or someone tries to succeed the tenancy when they are not entitled to;
  • Unlawful assignment - where a resident stops using their tenancy as their main or principal home, allowing another person to live there without permission;
  • False Right To Buy / Right To Acquire - where a tenant makes a Right to Buy or Right to Acquire application and gives false information in their application.

Organisations from across the North East have backed the campaign and are using the hashtag #NEHousingFraud to show commitment to tackling the issue. 

If you suspect tenancy fraud is happening in your area or in a home near you,  then there are many ways you can get in touch with us about it:

If you suspect someone is fraudulently claiming benefits, then you can report via the National Benefit Fraud Hotline, Monday - Friday 8am - 6pm:

  • Telephone: 0800 854 440
  • Textphone: 0800 328 0512

Please remember, your identity will be protected and we will treat any information you give us in the strictest confidence. You can report the suspected fraud anonymously but please try to give as much information as possible to help our investigations. The more information that we have the better the chance we have of stopping it. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to update you on the outcome of our investigation(s).