Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Council Recovers Illegally Sub-Let Properties

The pressure is on in Cambridge for organisations to work hard to make much needed Housing available to residents of this rapidly expanding City. With sub-letting of Council properties now becoming a real and immediate problem in the Country, the City Council are doing their part to identify and investigate tenants who are not resident or have sub-let their property. Changes to the law mean these tenants might now be committing an offence.

The Council’s fraud team, working with City Homes and other partners, have identified 5 such council owned properties and 1 Housing Association property in the last few months. These properties then become available for people in genuine need.

A particular success related to two properties that had been allocated to members of the same family; however one of them had been illegally sub-let by the tenant, whilst the other had moved to Nottingham and left the property empty, just returning from time to time to pick up the post.

These properties were identified thanks to an anonymous tip-off, and the fraud team is keen to hear from anyone else who suspects a property has been abandoned or illegally sub-let. The information can be left in confidence and for free, on 0800 328 0572 or at fightfraud@cambridge.gov.uk.

Naomi Armstrong, Benefits Manager for Cambridge City Council, said, "It is important that the Council uses its resources for the maximum benefit of our community. Housing is vital, and should not be abused when there are so many people in need. If you suspect that a property near you has been abandoned or seems to have been illegally sub-let please don’t presume that someone else will have reported it. Your call or email might give someone the opportunity of a new home".

Catherine Smart, Executive Councillor for Housing at Cambridge City Council said, "People who cheat like this are not cheating the City Council, as it still gets the rent. They are cheating other people in Cambridge who are desperate to get rehoused. I am glad the Government has changed the law to make it clear that this kind of fraud is a crime. The City Council will take action against people who cheat the people of Cambridge in this way."