18 Mar 2015

Thurrock recovers 71 homes in one year

Thurrock Council estimates four percent of its homes - 400 - are in the hands of fraudsters.

Councillor Lynn Worrall, who's in charge of housing, was speaking at an event to publicise a council campaign – Know a Cheat in your Street - aimed at tackling housing tenancy fraud.

Thurrock Council say they are taking a hard-hitting approach to ensuring deserving families and vulnerable people are not denied a council home by fraudsters.

Ms Worrall said: “Housing fraud is when a council home is let to a person who has either lied about their circumstances to jump the queue or someone is sub-letting their council house or flat and pocketing the profit.”

Over the last year 71 homes have been successfully recovered by the Council’s Housing Investigation Team saving it over £1.2 million and helping to ease the housing waiting list.

The team has also prevented six potentially fraudulent right-to-buy applications.

Ms Worrell added
We are making it clear to anyone who thinks they can cheat Thurrock residents that they will face serious consequences, including losing their homes, hefty fines, a criminal record and even prison thanks to the recent introduction of the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act.

Those committing housing fraud are denying deserving families the chance of a stable and affordable home.

Housing fraud may be seen to some as a crime that does no harm and has no victim, but with ever-increasing demands for council housing, cheats are leaving families waiting longer on the housing list.

If all these homes were freed up, they would help house those forced to live in emergency accommodation, which costs us millions.
Social housing fraud is the most wicked form of welfare fraud. The sums that can be saved are huge, but it's so much more than the money - needy families are being deprived of the chance to have a settled home that suits their needs.


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