Southway have handled a variety of cases of tenancy fraud. As it stands, we are currently working with Manchester City Council on 4 tenancy fraud cases, with another 2 cases under initial investigation.
The 5 Types of Tenancy Fraud
There are 5 main types of tenancy fraud that we deal with:
The tenant lets out their Southway home without the landlord's knowledge or permission. This is often at a higher value than the rent that we charge to social tenants, which means that the tenant is making an unlawful profit under The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013.
Non-principal home ownership
The tenants moves out of the property and lives elsewhere, without telling the landlord.
The tenant does not meet the criteria to buy the property and provides false information on the application to do so.
This is when someone who is not entitled to take over (succeeds) the property/tenancy does so, eg. They may say that they were living with the original Southway tenant before they died, when in fact they were living elsewhere.
Obtaining a Southway home by deception
The customer provides false information on the housing application to better their chance of obtaining a Southway property.
Southway takes tenancy fraud very seriously and there are a variety of ways in which we deal with cases of fraud. Please see the 'What is Southway doing?' page to find out more information on how we handle cases of tenancy fraud.
What are Southway doing?
We take all reported tenancy fraud cases very seriously and record every case we handle and carry our thorough investigation.
What are we doing to tackle tenancy fraud?
During the application process, we analyse all supporting documentation that is submitted with your application to make ensure that those applying for a Southway property are providing the correct information.
We have also provided tenancy fraud training to the Community Services and Action Officers within our team at Southway.
Community Services Officers also carry out starter tenancy visits and regular tenancy audits to ensure that the people living at the property are the lawful tenants.
What happens if we come across a case of tenancy fraud?
If we find someone to be committing tenancy fraud, we gather together all of the evidence which is then passed on to our Tenancy Enforcement Team. This involves our Community Action Officers working closely with Manchester City Council. This may entail carrying out Interviews Under Caution, which can lead to prosecution.
For a successful prosecution, witnesses will be called to give evidence. Witnesses can wish to remain anonymous if requested, meaning that any information given to us is treated with the strictest of confidence.
The penalties for tenancy fraud currently includes up to two years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £50,000. The court will also have the power to make an Unlawful Profit Order that requires the tenant to pay back any profits the court considers appropriate.
We've come across a number of cases of tenancy fraud...
Case Study 1:
A father, his son and his son’s girlfriend were applying for rehousing.
The father claimed that he and his son were sofa-surfing separately, and consequently got to the top of the queue for a 3-bedroom property.
The housing officer at the time had a hunch that they were being dishonest. This was because only the father ever came to view properties, and the son and his girlfriend were never present for any of the pre-tenancy affordability checks.
There were many conversations stating that he could be liable for the full rent of the property due to his son's undeclared income, and we emphasised that Southway can take action if any applicants falsify information.
As a result, the keys to the property were handed in 2 weeks later as the father confirmed the son and his girlfriend wanted to get their own place.
Case Study 2:
A son applied to succeed his deceased mother's property.
System checks showed that he was living with his 'then' wife at another of our properties.
At the court hearing, the court ruled in Southways favour and the property was recovered.
Case Study 3:
We received information stating that a Southway tenant was living elsewhere with her partner in a private property. At the same time, she was subletting the Southway home to someone else. The tenant unlawfully profited by charging a higher rent to the sub tenant.
However, we were alerted when the sub-tenant began to claim housing benefit and council tax support. The sub-tenant was interviewed under Section 9 of the Criminal Justice Act and asked to attend court.
The original tenant decided to terminate the tenancy rather than go to court as she could have lost her job at a local school.
As a result, the tenant was forced to vacate the property and the property was recovered.
If you would like to speak to a member of Southway about tenancy fraud, please click here
We take any information that we receive about fraud seriously. If you contact us to give us evidence supporting a case of tenancy fraud, any evidence given can be kept anonymous if desired.