Watchdog criticises lack of action on subletting
The government’s spending watchdog has criticised housing associations for not using a data matching system to identify homes that have been sublet unlawfully.
The Audit Commission said ‘only a handful’ of housing associations are using the National fraud initiative ‘despite clear evidence that it is a powerful tool for detecting fraudulent occupation of social housing’.
Audit Commission chair Michael O’Higgins has written to the chair of the National Housing Federation, Lord Taylor, and Homes and Communities Agency chair Robert Napier about the issue.
The commission has released a report showing the gains made as a result of the NFI. It notes social landlords have recovered 235 properties that were unlawfully occupied since 2010 through data matching, but says this would have more than doubled to 487 properties if all social landlords had joined the scheme.
The report also says the NFI has resulted in 321 people being removed from housing waiting lists for false applications, and 636 prosecutions for housing benefit fraud, among other gains.