A social landlord has issued a stark warning to tenants who sub-let their properties or obtain their home through deception, telling them that they could be made homeless and given a criminal record.
Whitefriars Housing, Coventry’s largest affordable housing provider with 18,000 homes, has teamed up with the city council to catch fraudsters.
Pauline White from Whitefriars said: “We do not tolerate housing fraud. Anyone who receives a home by giving false information, rents their home onto someone else, or sells the keys to their property, is at risk. You are cheating other people in need out of a home and breaking the law”
Whitefriars has warned that anyone who is found guilty of committing housing fraud will be evicted and blacklisted from every other regional social landlord.
In addition, Coventry City Council would consider a criminal prosecution.
Since August 2012, Whitefriars and the council have recovered eight homes from people who were cheating the system.
The council’s cabinet member for housing, Councillor Ed Ruane, has welcomed the approach, saying: “Coventry, like other cities across the country, has a real shortage of housing – particularly affordable housing. The fact that people have such houses that do not need it and then let it out for a profit defies belief and will not be tolerated so we will do all we can to help stamp out this practice”.
Pauline White added: “Together with the council we have stepped up our patrols and if you are deceiving us, we will catch you. We are also asking members of the public to help us by calling, anonymously if you wish, and letting us know if they suspect someone of committing housing fraud. By doing this you will help us to house people who are in need of a roof over their heads.”