Contact us: Got a photo? Text 'SLPICS' to 80360. Got a story? Call the newsdesk: 020 8744 4244
Partnership looks to triple fraud prosecutions in Kingston and Richmond
A crackdown on housing cheats will more than triple the number of people caught and save council tax payers an about £1m a year.
Housing tenancy fraud, such as unlawful sub-letting of properties or making a false Right to Buy application, costs councils nationwide in the region of £900m each year.
Since April, a partnership between Richmond and Kingston councils has recovered 11 properties with eight more due to be seized in the future.
This is estimated to have saved up to £200,000 based on an Audit Commission estimate that the cost of placing a homeless family in temporary accommodation at £18,000.
The two councils formed a Social Hosing Investigation Partnership which aims to uncover 60 cases of housing fraud every year and reducing the number of fraudulent social housing applications.
The partnership is the first to be formed between two London boroughs to combat cheating tenants.
Coun David Marlow, cabinet member for adults and housing at Richmond Council, said: “This is a crime which deprives affordable homes from those who need it most.
“I strongly believe the service will make a huge impact and send a clear message to those who commit social housing fraud or are thinking of committing this crime.
“The council will pursue you, it will never stop, and the council has more resources than ever before to bring you before the courts - and we will do everything in our power to see to it that you are adequately punished.”
Both Richmond and Kingston will receive £200,000 in the next two years from the Department of Communities and Local Government to keep the partnership going.
The department has made £9m available for councils to bid for.
Richmond Council has so far seen 15 prosecutions in 2013 against cheating tenants who have committed housing fraud.
Comments are closed on this article.