In a joint effort to tackle social housing tenancy fraud, Bedford Borough Council has partnered with Bedford-based housing association Bedfordshire Pilgrims Housing Association (BPHA) to uncover fraudulent claims for and use of social housing and to take back possession of these properties.
The programme, which was launched six months ago, has already seen 9 properties taken back from those abusing the Social Housing scheme so they can be re-allocated to residents genuinely in need.
The abuses uncovered so far include false applications for housing, sub-letting properties, abandonment and even one property being used as a cannabis factory.
By investigating these cases, Bedford Borough Council has assisted BPHA to take back possession of the properties so that they may be reallocated to those persons or families most in need within the Bedford area.
Fraudsters who attempt to obtain housing by falsifying their paperwork and others who use their properties for unlawful purposes prevent people genuinely in need, such as those facing homelessness or in unsafe living conditions, from being housed safely.
Cllr Michael Headley, Portfolio Holder for Finance said “This joint programme brings together the expertise of Fraud Investigators and Housing Specialists and will make it more difficult for fraudsters to take advantage of social housing. Anyone who attempts to obtain housing by falsifying their paperwork or who uses their BPHA property for unlawful purposes prevents people genuinely in need, such as those facing homelessness or in overcrowded living conditions, from being housed.”
The Council is appealing for help from members of the public to catch out more cheats. If anyone knows of somebody who is sub-letting their housing association property or who has lied in order to obtain a property please let us know by contacting us as soon as possible.
You can report Tenancy Fraud to Bedford Borough Council free and in confidence by:
Calling Freephone number 0800 917 8491
Filling in a form online at www.bedford.gov.uk
Downloading our new Fraud App.