Key amnesty to tackle tenancy fraud in Newham

A key amnesty is taking place until September 1

A key amnesty is taking place until September 1 - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Council tenants illegally subletting their properties have a chance to escape prosecution if they hand in their keys during an amnesty.

Starting tomorrow and running until September 1, it is the second amnesty to be held.

In 2013, 26 properties were recovered with almost 50 people contacting the council to either voluntarily hand back their keys or to report illegal subletting.

Tenants who admitted the offence were given time to vacate the property.

Tenancy fraud includes providing false information and illegally applying to inherit the home of a deceased person as well as renting out a council property while living elsewhere.

Anyone breaking the law could face two years in jail and a £50,000 fine.

Anyone found committing tenancy fraud after the amnesty ends will be prosecuted.

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Councillor Andrew Baikie, mayoral advisor for housing said: “Illegal subletting is unfair to the thousands of people on our housing register, many of whom have been waiting for years for a council property.

“The majority of our tenants live in their properties legally but we are tackling those who commit fraud at the expense of the public purse.

“This work won’t stop when the key amnesty ends as we will continue our rigorous audit checks on all our properties.”

Anyone wishing to end their tenancy should call 020 3373 9370 for advice.

If you have any information about someone not living at their council home, you can call the council’s Tenancy Audit Team on 020 3373 3261 in confidence.

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