Raising awareness of tenancy fraud

This November we’re launching a campaign to raise awareness of tenancy fraud.

Fraud

We’re launching it to coincide with National Fraud Week because we want to help people understand the implications of fraudulently using a property.

I’ve been with Radian for sixteen years, with 12 of those as a Housing Manager.

I’m Radian’s lead for tenancy fraud. I also chair the Hampshire Tenancy Fraud Forum, and sit on a Tenancy Fraud Forum committee in London.

It’s important to raise awareness of tenancy fraud as many people do not fully understand their obligations and the law, that committing Tenancy Fraud is a criminal offense.

It is a serious issue and like any form of fraud, if you’re not looking for it, you’re not going to know it’s there.

We as landlords have a duty to protect the public purse.

Our new campaign is supported by a number of local authorities and other housing associations.

We’ll be promoting it via leafletting and a social media campaign.

Understanding the law

Under the terms and conditions of a tenancy, residents are meant to use the property as their main and principle home.

If they are not using the home in this manner, customers may be committing tenancy fraud.

Some of the more obvious signs of tenancy fraud are things like no request for repairs over a long period of time, or no contact between the landlord and the tenants.

For example, we often find a customer decides to move out of their home to live with a partner, leaving the home empty or leaving adult children in the home, which is a breach of tenancy and a huge waste of resources.

Providing false documentation or lying about personal circumstances is also a breach of tenancy.

Subletting is another well-known breach of tenancy (this recently made headlines as another landlord’s tenant sublet a council flat on Airbnb, incurring major fines once detected).

Being aware

We detect tenancy fraud in a variety of ways; often residents will report that they haven’t seen their neighbours for quite some time or explain that different people keep moving into and out of the property.

Taking action

Throughout the campaign we’ll be offering a key amnesty, giving people who are committing fraud the opportunity to surrender the property.

We’re not necessarily expecting to receive a lot of keys, but it is another way of raising awareness and to also encourage people to report things to us.

Ultimately, we want to make sure that our homes are being used by those with a genuine housing need, and we hope the campaign will go some way to achieving this.

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