What is Housing Fraud?
When one of our tenants rents out one of our homes without permission or obtains a home by providing false information they are guilty of housing fraud.
People who commit housing fraud use up valuable homes and deprive families and vulnerable people of getting a home.
We are committed to tackling housing fraud and to provide an effective reporting, investigative and, if necessary, enforcement service to combat housing fraud.
Housing Fraud can include:
Obtaining a tenancy by giving false information, failing to update personal information as a result of a change in circumstances and/or using false documents such as forged identification or claiming another’s identity.
Unauthorised subletting by allowing another person(s) to use part or the whole of the property in exchange for rent without the landlord’s permission.
Non-occupation and absence are where the tenant is no longer using the property as their only or principal home. They may use the property infrequently, as an address to return to, as an address to claim credit or benefits, or they may abandon the property completely. Long-term absence refers to a tenant’s absence from the property of over 28 days and is permitted under certain circumstances for specified periods of time, with prior written agreement from First Choice Homes.
Key selling involves the tenant giving their keys to another person in return for financial gain without informing the landlord.
People also commit housing fraud on Right to Buy homes and can include
Misrepresenting the length of tenancy in order to gain a greater discount
Attempting to purchase a property whilst not using it as their sole or principal home
Not disclosing previous rent arrears, possession orders, transfers or evictions
Misrepresenting the household composition, for example, submitting a joint right to buy application with someone who does not reside at the property or has not done so for the required period
What can you do to help?
If you suspect that someone living in one of our homes is committing housing fraud, please let us know.
Your help in reporting housing fraud is important because you can see what’s going on in your neighbourhood.
You might know that somebody has a home the landlord doesn’t know about or has given false information in their housing application.
You might suspect someone of housing fraud - you may have seen them collect rent from your neighbours.
You might be suspicious because the tenants of a property keep changing.
Report housing fraud
What is the Fraud Pledge?
We pledge to work actively to prevent fraud wherever it might occur in our organisation.
We promise to:
- Appoint a suitable person (staff member, volunteer or trustee) to champion counter fraud work throughout our organisation.
- Ensure that all our trustees are aware of their legal duty to protect the charity’s assets.
- Consult with staff, volunteers and trustees to identify the types of fraud that threaten us and the ways we can prevent them.
- Create a written fraud policy and share it regularly – with staff, volunteers and trustees – so that everyone understands what fraud is and how they can help prevent it.
- Perform checks on the individuals and organisations with whom we have a financial relationship.
- Assess each year how well our fraud controls are working, taking into account new risks and making improvements as needed.