Council house fraudsters given one month amnesty to hand their keys in and walk away (From This Is Local London)
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Council house fraudsters given one month amnesty to hand their keys in and walk away
Rental cheats are being given one month to hand in their keys and walk away without prosecution or face up to two years in prison.
Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP) is giving people who sub-let social housing a one month amnesty before it launches a crackdown during which it will hunt down and prosecute fraudsters.
Government legislation has made sub-letting council housing a criminal offence. Previously, anyone caught sub-letting a council house was only required to leave the house. Now, they face a criminal record, a fine and even jail.
SHP, which manages Sutton Council's housing stock, is giving people who sub let their properties from November 1 to December 1 to get in touch, hand in their keys and leave their property without fear of prosecution. After that, it will use a Government funding boost to track down those who are sub-letting and follow-up detections with the full force of the law.
Yvonne Evans, counter fraud investigations manager for SHP, said: "Our staff are trained to spot the signs of housing fraud and with the additional funding from government last year we are successfully investigating and tackling tenancy fraud on a daily basis.
"Between November 1 and December 1, SHP are giving tenants who have committed housing fraud the opportunity to end their tenancy to avoid prosecution. We will not during this time commence legal proceedings for tenancy fraud against anyone who surrenders their tenancy during this time.
"However, after this date SHP will continue with our commitment to stamp out tenancy fraud, making sure that properties being misused are identified and recovered as quickly as possible so that people on the waiting list can be housed."
Councillor Jayne McCoy said the council has a lot of people waiting for housing and people who sub-let their properties should face "more than a slap on the wrist" if they are caught
If you suspect someone has gained a property through supplying false details or is illegally sub-letting their council home you can contact SHP's fraud team confidentially on 0208 915 2459.
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