14 Dec 2017

East Devon discovers keys amnesty

It's amazing how long it takes some councils to get round to offering a keys amnesty. It's quck, it's cheap, and it offers huge savings.

Tenants who illegally sublet their council houses are being given a month to hand their keys back and avoid prosecution.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) is holding a ‘key’ amnesty between January 2, 2018 and January 31 during which time those who are illegally renting their council property out can hand back the key without fear of legal action.

Tenants who illegally sublet their properties are breaking the law and if convicted face an unlimited fine or imprisonment of up to two years for committing fraud.

From February 1 the council is warning tenancy cheats that they will actively seek them out and will prosecute.

Great idea.

Cllr Jill Elson, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for sustainable homes and communities, said: “The vast majority of our tenants are living in their homes legally and they have nothing to worry about. Our message is clear: if you are an illegal tenant, then we are giving you a month’s grace to hand back your keys and give up your tenancy and no further action will be taken.”

Cllr Pauline Stott, chairman of East Devon District Council’s housing review board, added: “The council is determined that its limited number of affordable homes are occupied legally by honest tenants. If you are committing tenancy fraud, this is your opportunity to do the right thing and hand back the key. When you return the key, no questions will be asked.”

Latest figures show that there are 723 households in East Devon with a high need for affordable social housing and they are waiting for a home to become available.

• The ‘key’ amnesty is targeted at tenants who illegally sublet, obtain housing by deception, wrongly claim succession (where a tenant dies and someone, who is not entitled to, tries to take over or succeed the tenancy) or sell the key.


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