What is tenancy fraud?
Tenancy fraud can come in many forms and could be a tenant renting out one of our homes without permission, providing us with false information or living somewhere else without us knowing. It’s important that all the homes in your community, including yours, are used by the people who need them – that’s why we take fraud very seriously.
What does tenancy fraud look like?
Spotting tenancy fraud isn’t always easy but below are some signs to look out for which could indicate that something isn’t quite right.
Report it to sort it
If you spot any of the signs above, or suspect someone is committing fraud, please let us know by completing the online form below. The sooner we know, the sooner we can take action and provide a home to someone who really needs it. If you prefer, you can remain anonymous when getting in touch with us. There are many different types of tenancy fraud, and here are the most common.
This is when a tenant rents out their home without us knowing or giving permission.
Abandonment or non-occupation
When a tenant leaves their home without letting us know, this is called ‘abandonment’. It’s known as ‘non-occupation’ when your home is not your main home and isn’t used very often.
Wrongly claimed succession
As our homes are homes for life, it can mean that a tenant may pass away in their home. If this happens, and someone tries to take over the tenancy without being entitled to the home, it’s known as wrongly claimed succession.
This is when a tenant is paid to give their keys to another person.
False Right to Buy or Right to Acquire
You may be entitled to buy your home under the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire government schemes, however if you give us false information as part of your application, you will be committing fraud.
It is illegal to claim benefits you are not entitled to on purpose (for example not informing of change of circumstances or providing false information). For benefit fraud, it’s best to call the benefit fraud hotline.
The impact of tenancy fraud
It’s thought that as many as 100,000 social housing homes in the UK are currently being affected by some form of tenancy fraud. Not only is tenancy fraud a crime, but it also prevents families from being given a permanent place to call home.
Tenancy fraud can also have a negative impact on the local community, as where properties have been abandoned anti-social behaviour can occur, such as vandalism and in some cases, homes being used for criminal activity.
You can help us tackle fraud
We recently received reports that a tenant living in one of our newbuild two-bedroom flats, had been advertising their home for rent on Airbnb. We acted quickly to investigate this by speaking to neighbours, looking on the Airbnb website and undertaking checks of the home. Enough evidence was gathered and eventually the tenant decided to give written notice to end their tenancy.
With the help of those in the neighbourhood who spotted that something wasn’t quite right, we were able to take action and are now looking to allocate the home to someone looking for housing.
What could happen?
If we receive a report of fraud being committed in a Victory home, we’ll work with the police and other organisations to ensure action is taken and this may result in you losing your home. Tenancy fraud is a criminal offence and in the very worst instances could result in two years in prison or a maximum of £50,000 fine.