Devon Tenancy Fraud Forum (DTFF)

DTFF is partnership between the majority of Local Authorities and Housing Associations in Devon. We are committed to working together in building processes and policies that will assist us in preventing and detecting fraud and pursuing those who would commit fraud; therefore maximising our resources and ensuring that the public retain confidence in our individual organisations.

What is Tenancy Fraud?

Fraud, is by definition a crime and should not be tolerated. Any fraud against Local Authorities and or Registered Social Landlords is a fraud against the public purse.

Social Housing Fraud or so called ‘Tenancy Fraud’ is a crime against those often in most need in our society, it is a direct attack on our social fabric at a time when social housing is at a premium.  This type of fraud can be broken down in the following areas:

Application Fraud - making a false declaration or submitting fraudulent documents to obtain a property – for example, giving false information on Devon Home Choice

Unlawful Subletting - tenants who sublet the whole or part of their home – for example, moving in with your partner and renting out your social housing property just in case your relationship doesn’t work out.

Succession Fraud - unlawful taking over a tenancy – Someone taking over a tenancy who does not qualify for social housing and submitted false information to trick the Housing Association – for example, saying you’ve lived with a social housing resident to take over their property after they pass away, when you know this not to be true.

Right To Buy Fraud - where a false application has been submitted – for example, not living in your social housing property but then looking to buy it through the Right to Buy Scheme/Right to Acquire Scheme.

What is the impact of tenancy fraud?

Tenancy fraud has an impact on all of us. Crucially, it reduces the number of affordable homes that are available for people who really need them. Further to this it could make it more difficult for people you know to live and work in the local area.

Click here to read an interview with a tenant who has felt the effects of tenancy fraud

Did you know?

  • Subletting is a criminal offence and those found guilty can face up to two years in prison and/or a £5,000 fine

  • This type if fraud costs the tax payer an estimated £1.8billion in between 2013 – 2016*.

*Annual Fraud Indicator 2017

How can you help?

  • Make sure your DHC application is always accurate and up to date.

  • Have you overheard any suggestion that a social housing property is being sublet?

  • Please report it!

How to report a fraud

If you suspect tenancy fraud you can report this to your Local Authority, Housing Association or if you are unsure who to contact, you can report to the DTFF directly and we will forward it on: [email protected]

The information you give us will be dealt with in confidence. However may be passed to the appropriate organisations such a local authorities.

Staff will investigate any reports and will work closely with other agencies to take the correct action.

Recent cases

Plymouth woman admits 56 Fraud Act Offences to get a Social Housing property.

A Plymouth woman who repeatedly lied about owning a property whilst trying to obtain social housing has been given an 18 month community order by Plymouth magistrates. The 49 year old was also ordered to perform 20 rehabilitation activity days, seek mental health treatment as well as pay £450 costs and £85 victim surcharge.

Plymouth magistrates heard that the woman applied to Devon Home Choice for a social housing property in September 2017 and gave an address history back to 2011 with no reference to a property in Plymouth - which she jointly owned with an ex-partner.

Social Housing Fraudster Fined in Plymouth for unlawful sublet.

A woman living in Cornwall has pleaded guilty to an illegal sublet of her Plymouth Social Housing property for 5 years in court this week after admitting an offence contrary to the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 S2(1)

She left her Plymouth house in March 2014 to live with her partner in Cornwall who she later married, and failed to inform her Social Landlord that she was moving out and that she would be allowing her grown up children (who were not entitled to succession) to live there and pay the rent and utility bills, under her name.