A housing fraud investigator was appointed in January and since then has had a real impact on tenancy fraud in the district, according to Arun District Council.
The role of housing fraud investigator is to check applications to join the housing register to see if they are genuine, conduct unannounced visits to tenants suspected of subletting property and carrying out court-approved surveillance.
A council spokesman said: “When appointed in January the aim was for up to ten properties in the Arun district to be brought back into lawful use over a 12 month period.
“Five months on and already nine properties have been recovered. A number of factors have contributed to this result: properties where the tenant was no longer in residence; subletting; alleged housing benefit fraud or single occupancy discount claims from Council Tax.
“We have also prevented two fraudulent applications to the Arun housing register and a fraudulent Right to Buy application.”
Councillor Trevor Bence, cabinet member for housing at Arun District Council, said, “I am delighted to see the success of this vital role in action and the positive effect it is having. Social housing is a scarce resource, and homelessness is increasing. Therefore every property we get back from fraudulent use will be allocated to a household in acute housing need from the Arun housing register.
“Arun District Council welcomes help from the public in reporting housing fraud.
“You might know somebody who has a home that the Council doesn’t know about or has given false information in their housing application.
“You might suspect someone of housing fraud having seen them collect rent from neighbours or be suspicious because the tenants of a property are changing frequently.
“You can see what is going on in your neighbourhood and if any of these signs strike a chord, please let the housing fraud team know.”
People who live in the Arun district and suspect tenancy fraud should contact the housing fraud investigator on 01903 737878 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
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