Tower Hamlets housing amnesty

Posted on Friday 22nd January 2016

Tower Hamlets holds housing amnesty

Tower Hamlets Council, Tower Hamlets Homes and local housing associations today launched a housing amnesty across the borough.

The initiative will help recover illegally sublet social housing and stamp out fraud, costing residents and THH an estimated £13million a year. 

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said: “It is wrong for people to make a quick buck at the expense of those who desperately need a permanent home.

“Illegal sublets have a serious social and economic cost. Our priority is to get social housing back, to support the people on our housing list and to protect the public purse.”

The amnesty runs until March 6, giving tenants the chance to hand back their keys to the council, THH or housing association, without consequence, if they are illegally subletting properties.

Tenancy fraud is a criminal offence. Prosecution by the council can incur a prison sentence, a criminal record or a fine for £5000.

What is Housing Fraud?

  • Unlawful subletting
  • Obtaining housing by deception
  • Wrongly claimed succession
  • Tenants who apply for the Right to Buy but are actually living somewhere else
  • Tenants who are working but haven’t told the Housing Benefits team about their income


CASE STUDY:

Amy Sictorness, age 22, from Bethnal Green has just secured a two bedroom property as a result of the council tackling tenancy fraud.

Amy has made 200 bids for a home since 2012. She was successful in getting a tenancy in November 2015, providing a home to her five month old daughter, Lucia.

Amy said: “A home is so important. My daughter now has the space to grow and develop and reach her full potential. It is shocking that people use social housing to make money. It means that people like me wait longer than we should for a home.  I am glad that I have a home in Tower Hamlets, as I have access to important support networks that help me and my daughter.”    

Susmita Sen, Chief Executive of Tower Hamlets Homes, said: “I am very pleased that we were able to accommodate Amy. Demand for our housing is high, and tenants who illegally sublet disadvantage families, young people and those who need a place to call home."

You can report any suspected Housing Fraud, in confidence, by calling us on 0800 528 0294.

Posted on Friday 22nd January 2016