Sub-letting fraudsters

Thousands of people who are in social housing and are sub-letting are guilty of the heinous crime of fraud, according to to new research.

A study of 125,000 properties by information services company Experian estimated by looking a tenancy lists and comparing the registered tenant's credit activity with the address it was linked to, alongside looking at any other credit activity associated with that address. By putting a whole lot of figures in a calculator and seeing what came out, Experian claim that 157,077 homes are being fraudulently sub-let in the UK.

The Audit Commission reckons that there are at least 50,000 social housing properties that are being occupied illegally.

Nick Mothershaw, director of fraud and identity solutions for Experian, said: 'Our initial research suggests that the level of social housing tenancy fraud in Britain could be much higher than previously estimated. Reducing social housing tenancy fraud will significantly reduce the cost of temporary accommodation.'

One solution posited is that the properties could be vacated and used for temporary accommodation or for people who are currently on housing lists.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps told the Daily Telegraph: 'Social housing is really precious and it's not right that tenancy fraud and abuse locks out some of the most vulnerable families from getting a roof over their heads.'

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