Help us home in on housing cheats
Published: Tue, 15 Apr 2014
The Housing Executive is committed to tackling housing fraud.
Most people applying for or living in our homes play by the rules….Housing Cheats don’t! They deprive those on the housing waiting list of homes they desperately need. They are guilty of housing fraud.
We are committed to stamping out fraud and urge people to report any incidents of fraud or suspected fraud of which they may be aware. Each year around 150 homes are recovered and help people in genuine housing need.
Gerry Flynn, Housing Executive Director of Landlord Services explained: “A person committing housing fraud means that someone who may be in greater need of housing doesn't get the chance to be offered a property.
“There are different types of housing fraud; some of the most common include:
- Obtaining housing by deception – when a person gets a house by giving false information, for example not telling us that they already have a tenancy or providing false information about who is in the household, then they are committing tenancy fraud.
- Unlawfully sub-letting – where a tenant lets out their home without our knowledge or permission they are unlawfully sub-letting. They often charge the person they are sub-letting a much higher rent.
- Living in a property after someone has died without the right to do so. For example, saying they have lived with the tenant before they died, when in fact they were living somewhere else.
- Non-residence – where a tenant ceases to occupy their Housing Executive home and then leaving it empty.
“We want to make sure housing fraud does not happen and we will be actively carrying out checks both against other records including Housing Benefit and the electoral register as well as checking that genuine tenants live in our properties. These checks will be ongoing and can happen at any time during the person’s tenancy, without any warning.
“But we also need the help of local communities where local residents see what’s going on in their neighbourhoods or may suspect someone is committing housing fraud. They might, for example:
- Know somebody has given false information on their housing application
- See rent being collected from their neighbours
- Notice the tenants of a property keep changing or
- See a house that is standing empty for long periods and not being used by the tenant.
“If you suspect someone is a Housing Cheat, let us know, either online at www.nihe.gov.uk or by telephoning 03448 920 900. It could make a real difference! Anything you tell us will be held in the strictest confidence. You do not need to leave your name or details.
“We will investigate your concerns and the necessary action will be taken. Anyone caught committing fraud is likely to lose their tenancy and could also in some cases be disqualified from applying for social housing in the future. They could also be fined and possibly sent to prison. The Housing Executive will then also be able to make the property available to a family who need it most.”