We need your help to report housing fraud because you see what's going on in your neighbourhood such as:
- you might know that somebody has another home we don't know about or has given false information in their housing or homeless application.
- you might be suspicious because the tenants of a property keep changing, especially without Mears or Council Officers coming to do work at the property, or you have seen someone collecting rent.
- you might suspect that the property is empty and not being occupied. The tenant might just return to pick up the post and leave again.
- You might have noticed that someone has moved a friend or family member in and then gone to stay elsewhere.
Any information received will be kept in the strictest confidence and you do not have to supply your name and address.
If you'd like to report suspected Benefit Fraud, please use the form on the government's website: https://www.gov.uk/report-benefit-fraud
What is Housing Fraud?
Housing Fraud includes a number of different fraudulent activities including:
- Giving false information on your housing application to be wrongly given priority or a higher banding.
- Sub-letting your social house to people who aren't allowed to live in the property under the terms of your tenancy.
- Failing to occupy the property yourself, allowing relatives or other people to take on the property.
- Failing to use the property as your main home or selling the key to a third party.
- Lying about living in a property for the qualifying period in order to gain the tenancy of a tenant who has died.
Read DDC's Tenancy Fraud Policy
How are DDC doing in investigating and prosecuting Tenancy Fraud cases?
DDC take reports of Tenancy Fraud very seriously and have a contract with Ashford Borough Council who have Specialist Fraud investigators who undertake the detailed investigations into cases we refer to them. Find out more about our Tenancy Fraud performance.
What's so bad about housing fraud?
Most people applying for housing wait their turn to be allocated a home. Allocation is based on need. Housing cheats don’t wait and aren't in the greatest need, they jump the queue. It’s not fair.
There isn't an abundance of social housing in this country so it is important that fraudsters do not use up valuable housing spaces which deprive those in greater need.
Tenancy Fraud campaign
We have worked with the Kent Tenancy Fraud Forum, and other registered social landlords in Kent to help raise awareness of the impact of Tenancy Fraud.
The negative impacts that tenancy fraud has on the public purse and on homelessness in Kent and Medway is being highlighted as part of Fraud Awareness Week from 12-18 November 2023.
Adam Simmonds, Chair of the Kent Tenancy Fraud Forum, which is part of Kent Housing Group (KHG), said: “Tenancy fraud occurs when a local authority or housing association home is occupied by someone who is either not legally entitled to be there, has obtained use of the property fraudulently or leaves the property empty while living elsewhere.
“Tenancy fraud is a criminal offence and penalties include a prison term of up to two years and fines of up to £50,000.”
“The courts have the power to make the tenant pay back any profits made from the fraud. This crime restricts the amount of housing available to those genuinely in need and is a drain on the public purse, since those who are left without a home often have to be housed in costly emergency accommodation. It’s estimated that tenancy fraud costs the public purse more than £900m a year in the UK,” said Adam.
The Kent Tenancy Fraud Forum is working with the national Tenancy Fraud Forum who’ve provided posters that organisations in the social housing sector can add their logo to and use as part of the awareness campaign.
KHG Chair Brian Horton said: “People who abuse a social housing tenancy by committing fraud are thankfully in a minority but their criminal behaviour has far-reaching negative impacts on the availability of homes for those in need.
“These tenancy fraudsters must be identified and action taken, we owe this to the
families we have a duty to house and to the vast majority of social housing tenants in Kent and Medway who abide by the terms of their tenancies with local councils and housing associations.”
Case study in Dover:
- Reports from a neighbour concerning anti-social behaviour by the new occupiers of a council flat despite the current tenant still being on the books.
- Social media searches showed the tenant to be in a new relationship with someone out of the area. The address of the partner was located and evidence found linking the tenant to that address.
- The tenant had secured a new job in the same town as the new partner and had appeared to move there and sub-let her council property.
- A visit was made to the council property and the sub-tenants were spoken to which confirmed the situation.
Possession of the council properties was regained and the properties were subsequently re-let to people on the waiting list.