Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Clampdown on council housing fraud
A FRESH crackdown on housing fraud has been launched by councils in York and North Yorkshire.
In the past two years action taken by Veritau, a company owned by City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council which investigates fraud within the public sector, has led to more than 40 properties being freed up for rent and allowing them to be legitimately let.
In addition, Veritau has provided information to prevent 15 false applications for housing to City of York Council.
Veritau and City of York Council have now joined forces with eight other social housing providers within North Yorkshire to create an anti-housing fraud alliance.
The partners are Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, Richmondshire District Council, Broadacres Housing Association, Harrogate Borough Council, Yorkshire Housing, Craven District Council, York Housing Association, and Selby District Council.
This partnership initiative focuses on identifying and prosecuting people who lie about their circumstances in order to obtain a property; tenants who unlawfully sublet their property; tenants who stop living at their property and people who provide false information to gain a property through succession rights.
There are currently more than 14,500 people or families in the North Yorkshire Home Choice scheme, with more than 1,000 applicants in the category of urgent need.
A lack of social housing combined with the high cost of private rented properties in the area has made housing fraud attractive to criminals seeking to profit from the situation.
York councillor Linsay Cunningham-Cross, said: “Housing fraud costs everyone too dearly to allow anyone to get away with it and I appeal to anyone with concerns that neighbouring social housing may be being abused to come forward.”
Tips on how to spot potential homes frauds
• If you never or only very rarely see the tenant, report it. If a property is empty or not being lived in, it should be made available to someone who needs it.
• Do you live near a housing association/council property where the tenants keep changing? It could be unlawfully sublet, with the real tenant making money from it.
• To report suspected housing fraud in confidence, phone Veritau’s fraud hotline on 01904 552935 or email email@example.com
Comments are closed on this article.