What is Magna doing about housing fraud?
Most people applying for housing wait their turn to be allocated a home. Housing cheats don’t wait, they jump the queue. It’s not fair. They use up valuable housing which deprives those in greater need. They are guilty of housing fraud.
What is housing fraud?
There are different types of housing fraud. Here are some of the most common:
Magna tenants are allowed to take in a lodger and to sub-let a part of their home, as long as they have our written permission. However, tenants are not allowed to sub-let their whole home to someone else. If a tenant sublets their home they may charge their tenant a higher rent and make a profit. This is unlawful and is not fair. The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 gives local authorities the power to prosecute those who unlawfully sublet their social housing if:
- The tenant sublets the whole or part of the property and ceases to occupy the property as an only or principal home and does so knowing that to do so is contrary to the express or implied terms of the tenancy; and/or
- the tenant dishonestly and in breach of an express or implied term of the tenancy sublets or parts with possession of the whole or part of the property and ceases to occupy it as his only or principal home.
Obtaining housing by deception
When someone gets a Magna home by giving false information in their application, for example not telling Magna they are renting another council or housing association property, they are committing housing fraud.
Wrongly claimed succession
When a tenant dies, there are rules that say what should be done with the tenancy. Certain people may have the right to succeed, or take over, the tenancy. Wrongly claimed succession is when someone who is not entitled tries to take over the tenancy. For example, they may say they were living with the tenant before they died, when in fact they were living somewhere else.
What are we doing?
We aim to make best use of our properties and ensure that they are occupied in accordance with the law, the regulatory framework, our tenancy agreements and our charitable objectives. Preventing and tackling tenancy fraud is an important way in which we can achieve this aim.
We have a tenancy fraud policy which states our approach and is set out in our Tenancy Fraud Policy.
- When we allocate housing, we try to make sure that the person we let it to is entitled to the property.
- We carry out home visits to new tenants and we also carry out home visits to all tenants on a rolling programme. At these home visits we will ensure that the people living at the property are the lawful tenants.
- We are raising awareness of the problem of housing fraud, with posters and a leaflet, as well as information on our website.
- We have provided training for our housing management staff to help them deal with unlawful subletting.
- We are working with some of our local authority partners who are operating tenancy fraud campaigns.
What can you do to help?
Your help in reporting housing fraud is important because you can see what’s going on in your neighbourhood.
- You might know that somebody has another home that we don’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 your neighbours.
- You might be suspicious because the tenants of a property keep changing.
You might know that a tenant is living elsewhere and not using their home.
If you suspect someone is a housing cheat, let us know. It could make a real difference.
We will investigate your concerns and take the necessary action. If someone is found to have committed housing fraud that person could lose their tenancy.