UK Government

Tower Hamlets, London Borough of (London): Blowing the whistle on housing cheats!

Press Release   •   Oct 05, 2010 12:21 BST

Tower Hamlets Council is cracking down on housing cheats.

Working with local housing partners, the council has launched a campaign to tackle people illegally sub-letting a council or housing association property.

The message is that this could be depriving someone of a home that could rightfully be theirs.

Minesh Jani, Service Head for Risk Management at the Council, said: “We all know that housing is a particular issue for our borough. Tower Hamlets is only 8 miles across and our population is one of the fastest growing in London.

“As a council, we’re working hard to get residents into appropriate housing and this is undermined when people act illegally to sub-let or occupy homes that might have been allocated to a family in need.”

The council, which bid for Government funding to tackle the problem, has established a new team to crack down on housing cheats.

Since starting work in May, the team has recovered sixteen properties for re-allocation. A further 22 are the subject of ‘Notice to Quit’ applications and 45 additional cases are being actively pursued for benefits issues.

Minesh added: “We’re calling on local people to help us in this campaign. You can contact us confidentially to tell us about properties you think might be illegally occupied and we’ll investigate to ensure they are allocated to the people who need them most.”

Call the council free on 0800 528 0294 or email anti-fraud@towerhamlets.gov.uk.

Notes to editors

For media enquiries, contact Kelly Powell, Acting Communications Manager at Tower Hamlets Council, on 020 7364 4390 or email kelly.powell@towerhamlets.gov.uk.

A recent Audit Commission review found that illegal sub letting cost the public purse around £2 million – this equates to 50,000 homes lost.

The Government set up a fund to enable local authorities to prioritise work on tackling illegal sub letting. Tower Hamlets Council successfully bid for funding and received £50,000 to tackle this issue locally.

A temporary team was set up within the Risk Management Service to deal specifically with illegal sub letting and work closely with partners including Tower Hamlets Homes and the other Registered Social Landlords.

Contacts

NDS Enquiries 
Phone: For enquiries please contact the issuing dept 
ndsenquiries@coi.gsi.gov.uk