A tough zero tolerance approach to tenancy fraud in Leeds has seen a council team recover its 300th property this week.
The Tenancy Fraud Team, which investigate all types of social housing fraud including application fraud, unlawful subletting, non-occupation (where a tenant is not using the property as their only or principal home) and right to buy fraud, carried out the recovery in the Moortown area on Monday.
Leeds Magistrate’s Court had granted possession at an earlier hearing following an investigation by the team.
Officers had previously carried out a home visit at the property which saw the occupant disclose that they were renting from a private landlord.
Subsequent investigations showed the registered tenant was in fact subletting the property to the current occupant and charging ‘rent’ of £450 per month.
The tenancy fraud team acted quickly to prevent the tenant exercising their right to buy and took eviction proceedings.
The judge praised the housing officer’s actions and awarded Leeds City Council possession of the flat, saving the council an estimated £49,500 in the right to buy discount.
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities, said:
“Tenancy fraud is not a victimless crime – it deprives people in genuine need of social housing and tenants who sublet their council home are defrauding innocent people who believe they are paying their rent to a private landlord.
“Leeds has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to tackling tenancy fraud and this significant milestone strengthens the message that tenancy fraud will not be tolerated in our city”.
News of the recovery comes during Yorkshire and Humberside Tenancy Fraud Awareness Week, which is taking place until Feb 10.
To report tenancy fraud go to: www.leeds.gov.uk/housingfraud