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21 Feb 2017

Belated keys amnesty sees six homes returned

Six family council homes in Brighton & Hove have been made available after a successful tenancy fraud amnesty. (h/t Tenancy Fraud)

Tenant frauds handed back the keys to six homes to two three-bedroom, two two-bedroom and two one-bedroom properties.

It brings the total of homes recovered from tenancy fraud in 2016/17 to 20 - saving the council up to £360,000.

The amnesty ran throughout December and January offering tenants illegally subletting their homes or keeping a social housing tenancy while living elsewhere the chance to hand their properties back to the council without fear of legal action.

It was run ahead of a new data-matching exercise launched this month which will be used to identify further illegal subletting and tenants not using their council property as their main home.

Tenant cheats uncovered through this new exercise are being warned they will face legal action.

Councillor Anne Meadows, housing and new homes committee, said: “There is a huge demand for housing in the city and it’s fantastic that the amnesty has freed up six homes that can now go to residents who need them. It has allowed us to get these homes back quickly without the additional costs of legal action. Tenancy fraud deprives residents in housing need at a huge cost to the city and we will continue to do all we can to tackle it.”

National figures suggest that tenancy fraud costs the public purse £18,000 a year for each property though with the high costs of housing people in temporary accommodation in the city, the savings for Brighton and Hove City Council are likely to be "significantly more".

Source

I am still amazed that it takes some councils so long to get round to offering a keys amnesty. I should know better by now, but I had expected they would all pounce on this as soon as the legislation was in place.

Better late than never, I suppose.

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