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Cost of living support

Advice and support to help manage the rising cost of living.

Tenancy fraud

There are different types of tenancy fraud. If you believe somebody is committing tenancy fraud, please let us know by completing the online form below.

What is tenancy fraud?

Tenancy fraud is a term used to describe a range of circumstances where social housing is improperly obtained, misused or wrongly occupied. Here are some of the most common ones:

Unlawful subletting

Where a council tenant lets out their council or housing association home without the knowledge or permission of their landlord they are unlawfully subletting.

They often continue to pay the rent for the property directly to the landlord, but charge the person they are subletting to a much higher rent. It is unlawful and not fair to sublet and to profit from a property which could be given to someone who might really need it and who is legally entitled to it. 

Obtaining housing by deception

When a person gets a council or housing association home by giving false information in their application, for example not telling the landlord  they are renting another property or giving false information about who lives with them, they are committing tenancy fraud.

Wrongly claimed succession

There are rules about what should happen with the tenancy when a tenant dies. Wrongly claimed succession is when someone who is not entitled, under the rules, tries to take over or succeed to the tenancy. For example, they might say they lived with the tenant before they died, when in fact they were living elsewhere.

Key selling

Where a tenant is paid to pass on their keys to someone else in return for a one-off payment.

Why is it important to tackle tenancy fraud?

There is not enough social housing available for those who genuinely need it. We have to make the best use of the housing that we have available by ensuring that it is available to those people who most need it and are legally entitled to it. Those people who are waiting for social housing will have to wait even longer if homes continue to be occupied by people who have no right to be there.

What is the council doing to tackle tenancy fraud?

We take tenancy fraud very seriously and will take action to regain possession of properties whenever we find evidence of fraud.

Following the implementation of the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013, local authorities have been given more powers to investigate social tenancy fraud through better access to data. The Act also includes new criminal offences of subletting, with a maximum sentence of 2 years' imprisonment and an unlimited fine, and the ability to make claims to court for any profit made by tenants who sublet their properties.

The Council will make best use of these additional powers, as well as the ability to seek possession through the Courts under the Housing Act, or take action where offences are committed under the Theft Act 1968 and the Fraud Act 2006. Proceedings may be brought under any relevant legislation as part of the Council's responsibility to tackling tenancy fraud.

As part of their work on housing letting and management council officers carry out checks to establish that the right people are living, or will be living, in properties. We work closely with other social landlords and statutory agencies to detect fraud.

How to report tenancy fraud

If you suspect someone is involved in tenancy fraud, please let us know. It could make a real difference to someone in real need. You can use the online form:

Report Tenancy Fraud

or you can report your suspicions by calling your Housing Officer on 01799 510510 or emailing