Olympics could provide tenancy fraud headache
Experts on tackling tenancy fraud have questioned whether it will be possible to take action against tenants who sublet their properties during the Olympics.
During a webinar organised by Inside Housing and data services company Experian yesterday, the panel suggested it would not be practical to deal with the issue.
Samantha Herelle, area manager at housing association Circle 33, said: ‘These cases are going to be so short it is going to be difficult to get in there, get the evidence and then begin some sort of legal action.’
Other speakers also questioned whether it would be worth the effort of pursuing Olympic subletting cases. David Clayton, head of the making best use of stock team at the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: ‘The amount of resources that would be needed for such an intensive period of time would be better used over the longer term.’
Ms Herelle said a more productive approach would be to make the potential consequences of subletting clear to tenants in the run up to the games. ‘The communications that you have with your tenants leading up to the Olympics, that breach of tenancy could become a criminal offence, could act as a very good deterrent,’ she said.
The government is currently consulting on plans to make subletting council housing a criminal offence. At present it is a civil offence, meaning it cannot result in a custodial sentence on its own.
The panelists were supportive of the move to criminalise subletting, saying it would send a clear message to subletting tenants. Andy Hyatt, corporate investigations manager at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, said: ‘The problem is that detection is very expensive so we need to look at prevention.’
A recording of the event and the presentations are available on our webinars page