Couple prosecuted for tenancy fraud

13 Nov 2015

Stevenage Borough Council has today prosecuted a couple for tenancy fraud after they provided false information on their housing application which led to them being unfairly allocated a large council house.

The couple, who returned the keys to the three-bedroom house in Bedwell on 9 October following an investigation by Stevenage Borough Council and the Hertfordshire Shared Anti-Fraud Service, were both given a two-year conditional discharge after pleading guilty at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court on Friday 13 November and ordered to pay total costs of £730, with £400 covering the council costs.

They co-operated fully with the investigation once they realised that officers had evidence that they had lied about their housing circumstances. 

Councillor Ann Webb, Executive Member for Housing, said: “I would like to thank the officers who dealt with this case for all their hard work. The housing service is increasingly under pressure to provide accommodation for customers and we are really pleased that tenants who fraudulently obtained social housing have been brought to justice. This has enabled another family on our housing register to move into the property.”

Chris Hayward, Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance at Hertfordshire County Council, added: “This is the first prosecution since the Shared Anti-Fraud Service was launched and it’s an encouraging start. I’d call on residents to continue to do the right thing if they do know a cheat on their street. It’s not fair that you pay your taxes, while other people get away without paying them. All council services are funded by taxpayers, so when people commit council tax, tenancy or Blue Badge fraud, they are stealing from their whole community.”

He added: “We are always looking for ways to get the best value for money and this innovative new partnership working is already cutting fraud and saving money from Hertfordshire’s public purse. If you know a cheat on your street, report them.”

Join the conversation on Twitter by following #SpotTheCheater

Stevenage Borough Council works in partnership with the Shared Anti-Fraud Service (SAFS) to target fraudulent activity. You can report suspected tenancy fraud in the strictest confidence at www.hertsdirect.org/reportfraud, email fraud.team@hertscc.gcsx.gov.uk or phone 0300 123 4033 or by emailing tenancyfraud@stevenage.gov.uk  or by visiting our Customer Service Centre.

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