The council has been given £200,000 from the government to crackdown on illegal subletting of housing association stock and temporary accommodation. The funding will see officers carry out visits, data checks, and work more closely with housing associations on fraud investigations. For every housing association property recovered, the council will receive full rights to nominate future tenants.
The money is part of a £9.5 million government initiative for councils to tackle social housing fraud and ensure homes go to those who need them. Croydon is one of 62 councils across the country that is receiving funding. The council bid for the cash on the back of two major cases for the borough in cracking down on tenancy fraud.
Earlier this year, the council secured a custodial sentence after carrying out its first ever illegal subletting prosecution using the Fraud Act. Hildrith Bennett, aged 51, of Bramley Hill, South Croydon, was jailed for eight weeks in February after admitting the offence. This followed the case of Nicola Chin, aged 37, who in January was ordered to give up her Pawson’s Road council home in Broad Green, after she was found to have been illegally subletting it.
Councillor Dudley Mead, cabinet member for housing, said: “With housing shortages across the country, it is vital we carry out robust checks and monitoring of our own housing stock, to ensure it is being correctly used.
“This funding will give the council greater muscle in catching those who abuse the social housing system at the taxpayer’s expense.”
Residents can report suspected fraud in confidence at www.croydon.gov.uk or via the tenancy fraud hotline on 0800 328 9270.