Sunday, 23 November 2014

Two thirds of councils miss all tenancy fraud cases

Seventy one per cent of councils in Britain did not detect a single instance of tenancy fraud last year despite an estimated 28,000 cases in local authority stock.

That is the finding from research published today by information group Callcredit, based on Freedom of Information Act requests and existing data.

The study estimates local authorities across Britain identified 2,140 cases of tenancy fraud last year, giving a detection rate of less than 10 per cent. It found 69 per cent of local authorities in England did not detect any cases of tenancy fraud in 2011.

The situation was worse in Scotland and Wales where 85 per cent and 88 per cent of local authorities respectively did not identify any tenancy fraud cases.

Within England the figures for non-detecting local authorities ranged from 18 per cent in London up to 83 per cent in the east midlands.

The research found only 15 per cent of local authorities had a strategy for tackling tenancy fraud. Eighty five per cent of councils with a dedicated strategy or team identified cases of fraud, compared with only 19 per cent of the councils without a strategy.

The most common type of fraud was unlawful subletting, which accounted for 40 per cent of cases, closely followed by non occupation, which accounted for 38 per cent. The other main types of fraud concerned applications and successions.

Andrew Davis, director of public sector at Callcredit, said: ‘Regrettably public sector fraud is soaring and one of the biggest areas is tenancy fraud. It is a sad fact of life that wherever social housing is found, tenancy fraud is too.

‘Clearly from the results of our survey it is clear to see that those local authorities that do have dedicated strategy and fraud investigation teams are beginning to yield results.’

Inside Housing is running a free webinar on identifying and combating tenancy fraud on Monday next week, you can register for the event here.

Readers' comments (8)

  • "It is a sad fact of life that wherever social housing is found, tenancy fraud is too."
    just another sales pitch from private credit company, pity they can't finget the big fraudsters- when we need Poirot we get Clouseau,
    sad fact of life is fraud is rampant in city trading, politics and media circles etc etc but hey they can afford libel lawyers

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  • Though 'estimates' can be anything you want them to be. A detection rate against the figure should not come as a surprise to anyone simply because of an institutional 'policy' of denial and avoidance within authorities and HA's where the slightest blame can be apportioned to the administrators and responsible processors within those organisations.

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  • Based on FOI requests? All a bit murky.

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  • Mike Batt

    'information group Callcredit'

    This is just a jumped up PR release from some company popping out FOI requests to drum up business...

    Other press releases include: 'new research by car insurance data specialists The Trading Floor (now part of Callcredit Information Group) reveals that the iconic DeLorean DMC-12 sports car is now one of the rarest vehicles on the road today'

    PR nonsense. Not news.

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  • TheMole

    Remind me again, where did the "estimated" 28,000 cases come from?
    On what basis was the figure arrived at?

    If it's based on factual data would it be possible to dig a little deeper and identify who the 28,000 are?

    Alternatively, could I suggest that we stop publicising this nonsense and get on with highlighting the real horror stories in the world of social housing.

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  • Figures wrong - OK, so who can provide independent accurate research on this and demonstrate how good or bad LA's are doing here?

    Until someone comes back with a fact based argument or an independent report, Callcredit have at least done something to kick off a wider debate, whatever their motivation to do so.

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  • In Northampton, properties have been recovered from tenancy fraudsters.

    The Council confirmed that 8 properties were recovered along with 1 possession order granted for the financial year 2011.

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  • This issue is like groundhog day, why would councils spend serious amounts on investigations etc when there (seems to be) no material benefit? receiving £600 a month of Mr S Letter is the same as receiving £600 a month off Mr I M Legal.

    The govt has to pay (at least)on average approx £50k a unit in grants so why don't they offer councils £10k for every successful eviction? (on a results basis only, naturally)

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