5 Aug 2015

Runnymede gets round to a keys amnesty

An amnesty has been launched for council tenants illegally subletting their homes.

Runnymede Council is giving them two months to hand back the keys without being prosecuted.

The idea is to free up council homes to help those most in need.

The council thinks tenants are illegally renting out their properties, this crime is usually met with a fine and a prison sentence.

It currently costs an average of £350 a week to place a family in a B&B.

For each home surrendered, the council says it will save £18,000 a year.

Runnymede Borough Council’s Housing Committee Chairman, Cllr Hugh Meares, said:
We must ensure we are making the best use of our housing stock. Illegal subletting puts pressure on our housing waiting list therefore taking longer to re-house homeless families.

It currently costs the Council an average of £350 a week to place a family in bed and breakfast. Each home surrendered will save the council £18,000 a year so we have made the identification of illegal subletting one of our top priorities.
Runnymede Borough Council’s Tenancy Manager, Amanda Kendall, said:
Illegal subletting prevents homes from being made available to families in genuine need. If we identify subletting after the amnesty has ended we will not hesitate to prosecute those tenants for fraud. They could face a fine of £5,000 or a two year prison sentence and they may be required to pay to the Council any “profit” made on the illegal subletting. To avoid prosecution they should hand back the keys to Runnymede Borough Council during the amnesty period.

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