Countdown to close of housing amnesty

Posted on Friday 19th February 2016

The housing amnesty in the borough, led by Tower Hamlets Homes, the council and local housing associations finishes on 6 March. The amnesty allows tenants who are illegally subletting social housing to return their properties to us without prosecution.

The initiative has run for almost two months, urging tenants to give back their keys if they are illegally subletting THH, council or housing association properties.

The scheme has encouraged communities across the borough to support the work of THH and the council to stamp out fraud, and ensure that social housing is available for those who need it most.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said: “We will stand by our promise not to prosecute those who are illegally subletting social housing until the amnesty closes.

“But from 7 March, we will not hesitate to use the full force of our powers to pursue people making a quick buck at the expense of those who desperately need a permanent home. We are determined to bring back social housing for those who need it most.”

Susmita Sen, Chief Executive of Tower Hamlets Homes, said: “Demand for our housing is high, and tenants who illegally sublet disadvantage families, young people and those who need a place to call home. We would urge anyone profiting from this illegal practice to do the right thing, so that we can help those in need.”

Tenancy fraud is a criminal offence. When the amnesty closes, a successful prosecution by the council will result in a criminal record and either a fine, imprisonment or both.

It is estimated that illegal sublets are costing the council more than £13 million per year.

The Office of National Statistics say that four to six per cent of all social housing in the UK could be illegally sublet – which prevents countless families from getting a home and costs the public purse hundreds of millions of pounds.

You can report an illegal sublet anonymously on 0800 528 0294 or email
socialhousingfraud@towerhamlets.gov.uk

Tenants can drop off keys anonymously in boxes at The Town Hall, Mulberry
Place, E14 2BG; Rushmead One Stop Shop, Bethnal Green, London, E2 6NE; Idea
Store Watney Market and John Onslow House One Stop Shop, 1 Ewart Place, Bow
E3 5EQ (Off Roman Road).  

Posted on Friday 19th February 2016