Unlawful subletting, tenancy fraud and squatting

Tenancy fraud is when a home is not used by the person (or people) eligible to live in it.

Our homes provide security, stability, and good quality places to live.

To live in one of our 55,000 homes, you must meet the eligibility criteria and stick to your tenancy agreement. Most customers are happy to follow these rules, but a small number don't and this is called tenancy fraud.

Tenancy fraud is when a home is not used by the person (or people) eligible to live in it.

People who commit tenancy fraud deprive those in genuine need.

And as a social landlord we have a duty to make the best use of public resources and prevent tenancy fraud in our homes.

Types of tenancy fraud

Here are some examples of tenancy fraud:

  • Unlawful subletting – Someone is living in all, or part of a home, without our knowledge or permission
  • Non occupation by the customer as their principal home – The customer does not live in the property as their main home
  • Wrongly claimed succession – When a customer dies and someone knowingly takes over the tenancy when they are not entitled to. However, it is sometimes possible to take over someone's tenancy; this is called succession. If the person named on the tenancy agreement has passed away please get in touch so we can help you with succession.
  • Key selling – The customer leaves the home and passes on the keys to someone else in return for money or favours
  • Fraudulently obtaining a social housing tenancy – When false information was knowingly provided on a housing application
  • Unauthorised assignments – The home was given to/assigned to another person without our permission
  • Abandonment – Where a customer stops living at their home and doesn’t tell us, or moves out and keeps claiming benefits for the property
  • Keeping a social rented home when they own or rent another property

If you want to know more about subletting in England and Scotland, and find out if you are able to sublet your tenancy, then read rules around your tenancy.

What happens if you commit tenancy fraud?

Tenancy fraud is a criminal offence and breaches the terms of your tenancy agreement. Knowingly committing tenancy fraud may mean you lose your home.

It’s a costly problem. The Tenancy Fraud Forum reported that 100,000 homes are subject to tenancy fraud at an average cost to the taxpayer of £42,000 per detected home.

Make sure you are not committing tenancy fraud by letting us know if:

  • There are any changes to the number of people living in your home who are not mentioned on the tenancy agreement
  • There are changes to your eligibility for any benefits you receive
  • You intend to be away from your home for a longer period of time, with details of when you intend to return
  • You are no longer living there as your main home

How we tackle tenancy fraud

Our homes should go to people who need them, which is why we:

  • Carry out regular tenancy checks to make sure the right people are living in our homes
  • Work in partnership with other organisations to tackle unlawful subletting
  • Follow up all reports of tenancy fraud
  • Use appropriate legal powers to help tackle unlawful subletting
  • Train our teams to treat unlawful subletting effectively
  • Look for ways to prevent unlawful subletting from occurring in the first place

Report tenancy fraud

We all have a role to play in preventing tenancy fraud with most reports coming from concerned customers. Please contact us if you suspect someone:

  • Is living in a home they are not eligible to live in
  • Has left a property vacant (abandoned)
  • Owns another property
  • Has lied to get a home
  • Is renting out part of their home without permission

We will treat reports of suspected tenancy fraud in confidence.

You can submit your report anonymously but if you provide your details your identity will be protected.

You can report your concern by phone or by email:

Tel: 0345 141 4663
Email: contactus@homegroup.org.uk

If you give your details, we will aim to be back in touch within five working days to acknowledge your report.

All reports will be investigated, but we may be unable to update you on the outcome due to data protection legislation.

What is squatting?

Squatting is when someone enters a home and lives there without permission. Squatting is illegal and can lead to six months in prison, a £5000 fine or both.

If you think squatters are living in one of our homes then please report it to us:

Tel: 0345 141 4663
Email: contactus@homegroup.org.uk

Help us improve our website. Did you find this web page useful?

The information we receive from this form is anonymous. This means we can't get back in touch. If you need our help, please get in touch.