Housing Association tenants who illegally sublet their homes will be targetted in a joint initiative between the Government and Test Valley - Sir George has been told by the Housing Minister (see letter below)
"Those on the waiting list should be in these houses, if the tenants are no longer occupying them themselves" said Sir George, himself a former Housing Minister
01 Dec 2009
Dear Rt Hon Sir George Young
Tackling Fraud in Social Housing
I am writing to let you know that today we have launched a major drive to free up council and housing association homes for those most in need by targeting unlawful sub-letting and other cases of fraud. The Audit Commission estimate that around 50,000 social homes across England are unlawfully occupied. That is a figure I am determined we must work together to reduce.
I have announced today that we will be providing grant funding of between £50,000 and
£ 10,000 to each of 145 local authorities, £3.75 million in total, to enable them to work in partnership with the housing associations in their area to tackle fraud in social housing. These are the Local Authorities that have chosen to work with us. We will also be providing funding so that local authorities can offer a financial reward of £500 to members of the public whose information leads to the recovery of the first thousand social homes.
I also wanted, in particular, to make you aware that the recipient authorities of grant funding include Test Valley.
We have been working with the Audit Commission to pinpoint addresses where data matching suggests that a fraud may be occurring: approximately 8000 leads will be passed on to all those local authorities and housing associations who have submitted their tenancy data for this exercise. We are also making available to all landlords new best practice guidance, written by the Chartered Institute for Housing, on how best to prevent, detect and tackle social housing fraud.
We know that where landlords really focus on tackling fraud in social housing they are successful. I am encouraged by how many landlords have now committed to doing so and am confident that this first national drive to deal with tenancy cheats and free up badly needed homes for those in need will yield good results.
JOHN HEALEY MP