Crackdown on illegal subletting of Brighton and Hove council homes

Illegal subletting of council homes is on the rise – and council chiefs have warned of a crackdown.

Brighton and Hove City Council has reported receiving dozens of tip-offs about people profiting from public properties in the last six months.

It comes as more people are looking to make money out of the economic downturn, which has seen unemployment and homelessness rise.

But the local authority, which has 11,500 homes and more than 12,000 people on its housing waiting list, slammed the practice of renting out rooms adding it took the issue “very seriously”.

Conservative councillor Dawn Barnett said: “I have sympathy for people who have a spare room and are maybe looking for some income or those who do not have a place to stay.

“If they were to report it to the council and do it all legally then there’s not a problem.

“But they’re not and they’re cheating the taxpayer.

“It’s all wrong and we need to start clamping down on it.”

Fraud team

Recent figures show about 70% of all suspected cases reported |to the council’s fraud team this year relate to potential housing fraud.

The local authority added 94 people were investigated for housing tenancy fraud in 2011/12.

Coun Barnett said she was aware of at least three cases in her own ward of Hangleton and Knoll.

A council spokeswoman said: “We are pursuing robust action against a number of tenants where we believe subletting has taken place.

“Tenants who sublet their properties run the risk of losing their tenancies.

“There is a shortage of council housing in Brighton and Hove and a long list of those waiting for homes.

“It is not fair or right for those allocated council housing to commit tenancy fraud and it is an issue we take very |seriously.”

It comes as research recently conducted by the Audit Commission estimates that the scale of housing tenancy fraud is increasing.

A private members bill currently going through Parliament is likely to criminalise housing tenancy fraud.

Estimates from the Department of Communities and Local Government suggest that between 50,000 and 160,000 social homes are unlawfully occupied across the country.

To report cases email anti-fraud@brighton-hove.gov.uk or call 01273 291700.

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Comments (19)

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12:45pm Mon 19 Nov 12

little miss cupcake says...

My neighbour sub-lets her home. She says she doesn't live next door but if you're staying round someones house 7 days a week you ARE living there!!
My neighbour sub-lets her home. She says she doesn't live next door but if you're staying round someones house 7 days a week you ARE living there!! little miss cupcake

1:09pm Mon 19 Nov 12

sbiscorrupt says...

Will there be a similar 'crackdown' on MP's sub-letting their second homes?

No need for an answer as we already know it!
Will there be a similar 'crackdown' on MP's sub-letting their second homes? No need for an answer as we already know it! sbiscorrupt

1:12pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Andy R says...

This article sends out a very confused message in view the coming cuts in housing benefit for council tenants where they will be penalised for having spare rooms and will supposedly be advised to let spare rooms as a way round it!
This article sends out a very confused message in view the coming cuts in housing benefit for council tenants where they will be penalised for having spare rooms and will supposedly be advised to let spare rooms as a way round it! Andy R

1:13pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Andy R says...

This article sends out a very confused message in view the coming cuts in housing benefit for council tenants where they will be penalised for having spare rooms and will supposedly be advised to let spare rooms as a way round it!
This article sends out a very confused message in view the coming cuts in housing benefit for council tenants where they will be penalised for having spare rooms and will supposedly be advised to let spare rooms as a way round it! Andy R

1:42pm Mon 19 Nov 12

paul76 says...

But if you put a cycle lane through your front garden it will be ok and no action will be taken.
But if you put a cycle lane through your front garden it will be ok and no action will be taken. paul76

1:46pm Mon 19 Nov 12

NickBtn says...

Only 94 people investigated last year. That's less than 1% of the houses

Just waiting for tip offs doesn't seem very effective. Perhaps the council should validate all tenants just like it does with people who are getting the 25% council tax single discount. So write to everyone, remind them of the rules and get them to sign that they're not breaking them. If later on it's shown that they are then there is no excuse of not being aware and higher penalties possible. If people don't respond (perhaps because the named person isn't living there!) then that's an investigation list.....

Yes, it will be a minor inconvenience for the many law abiding, honest tenants. But I suspect many would enthusiastic if properly worded as we all want housing to be used in the fairest way
Only 94 people investigated last year. That's less than 1% of the houses Just waiting for tip offs doesn't seem very effective. Perhaps the council should validate all tenants just like it does with people who are getting the 25% council tax single discount. So write to everyone, remind them of the rules and get them to sign that they're not breaking them. If later on it's shown that they are then there is no excuse of not being aware and higher penalties possible. If people don't respond (perhaps because the named person isn't living there!) then that's an investigation list..... Yes, it will be a minor inconvenience for the many law abiding, honest tenants. But I suspect many would enthusiastic if properly worded as we all want housing to be used in the fairest way NickBtn

2:11pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Hoarder12345444 says...

It's not a huge issue if you rent out a room to bring in some income, if the house is privately owned. It becomes an issue if the house is paid for by public money. That is fraud and people should be done for doing it. It's wrong that people that are housed and get their bills paid for and yet they want more money and sub let their rooms when they aren't allowed to. Of course if it is your place and owned privately you can do it as much as you like, as YOU pay the mortgage and bills!!
It's not a huge issue if you rent out a room to bring in some income, if the house is privately owned. It becomes an issue if the house is paid for by public money. That is fraud and people should be done for doing it. It's wrong that people that are housed and get their bills paid for and yet they want more money and sub let their rooms when they aren't allowed to. Of course if it is your place and owned privately you can do it as much as you like, as YOU pay the mortgage and bills!! Hoarder12345444

3:05pm Mon 19 Nov 12

inadaptado says...

What's with all the | in the article? Seriously, is it so hard to hire someone -an intern even- to review the texts before posting them? This is not exactly breaking news, it can wait 5 minutes to be checked and edited.
What's with all the | in the article? Seriously, is it so hard to hire someone -an intern even- to review the texts before posting them? This is not exactly breaking news, it can wait 5 minutes to be checked and edited. inadaptado

3:38pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Sarah Booker Lewis says...

inadaptado wrote:
What's with all the | in the article? Seriously, is it so hard to hire someone -an intern even- to review the texts before posting them? This is not exactly breaking news, it can wait 5 minutes to be checked and edited.
I removed a number of these lines before it went online. Unfortunately I didn't spot the two left behind. They're removed now.
[quote][p][bold]inadaptado[/bold] wrote: What's with all the | in the article? Seriously, is it so hard to hire someone -an intern even- to review the texts before posting them? This is not exactly breaking news, it can wait 5 minutes to be checked and edited.[/p][/quote]I removed a number of these lines before it went online. Unfortunately I didn't spot the two left behind. They're removed now. Sarah Booker Lewis

4:53pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Andy R says...

Hoarder12345444 wrote:
It's not a huge issue if you rent out a room to bring in some income, if the house is privately owned. It becomes an issue if the house is paid for by public money. That is fraud and people should be done for doing it. It's wrong that people that are housed and get their bills paid for and yet they want more money and sub let their rooms when they aren't allowed to. Of course if it is your place and owned privately you can do it as much as you like, as YOU pay the mortgage and bills!!
Er......people rent council homes.....they're not free.

You do know that don't you......?
[quote][p][bold]Hoarder12345444[/bold] wrote: It's not a huge issue if you rent out a room to bring in some income, if the house is privately owned. It becomes an issue if the house is paid for by public money. That is fraud and people should be done for doing it. It's wrong that people that are housed and get their bills paid for and yet they want more money and sub let their rooms when they aren't allowed to. Of course if it is your place and owned privately you can do it as much as you like, as YOU pay the mortgage and bills!![/p][/quote]Er......people rent council homes.....they're not free. You do know that don't you......? Andy R

5:05pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Hoarder12345444 says...

Andy R wrote:
Hoarder12345444 wrote:
It's not a huge issue if you rent out a room to bring in some income, if the house is privately owned. It becomes an issue if the house is paid for by public money. That is fraud and people should be done for doing it. It's wrong that people that are housed and get their bills paid for and yet they want more money and sub let their rooms when they aren't allowed to. Of course if it is your place and owned privately you can do it as much as you like, as YOU pay the mortgage and bills!!
Er......people rent council homes.....they're not free.

You do know that don't you......?
Yeah, I do know that, but most if not all are a fraction of the cost compared to a private rented house. Take into consideration housing benefits and other benefits etc. Some people rent these house for much less than a normal private rent, subsidised by the tax payer, so why is it right to sub let rooms out for money given that they get these handouts? Some houses will be free if their benefits are enough!!
[quote][p][bold]Andy R[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Hoarder12345444[/bold] wrote: It's not a huge issue if you rent out a room to bring in some income, if the house is privately owned. It becomes an issue if the house is paid for by public money. That is fraud and people should be done for doing it. It's wrong that people that are housed and get their bills paid for and yet they want more money and sub let their rooms when they aren't allowed to. Of course if it is your place and owned privately you can do it as much as you like, as YOU pay the mortgage and bills!![/p][/quote]Er......people rent council homes.....they're not free. You do know that don't you......?[/p][/quote]Yeah, I do know that, but most if not all are a fraction of the cost compared to a private rented house. Take into consideration housing benefits and other benefits etc. Some people rent these house for much less than a normal private rent, subsidised by the tax payer, so why is it right to sub let rooms out for money given that they get these handouts? Some houses will be free if their benefits are enough!! Hoarder12345444

5:05pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Andy R says...

Oh.....and it's an "issue" regardless of tenancy type if the rent is not being to declared to HMRC. It also needs to be declared if the the person doing the letting is on means-tested benefits, again regardless of tenure type.
Oh.....and it's an "issue" regardless of tenancy type if the rent is not being to declared to HMRC. It also needs to be declared if the the person doing the letting is on means-tested benefits, again regardless of tenure type. Andy R

5:49pm Mon 19 Nov 12

SGK2000 says...

So how does it work if an adult sibling moves back to the family home and therefore pays 'keep'?

Happens alot and will happen more as young Brightonians are forced to leave the City for cheaper rents but, if things go wrong and they have to move back home, they are then declared as having 'no local connection' when it comes to getting on the housing list.

God knows what 'local connection' some of the new tenants have.
So how does it work if an adult sibling moves back to the family home and therefore pays 'keep'? Happens alot and will happen more as young Brightonians are forced to leave the City for cheaper rents but, if things go wrong and they have to move back home, they are then declared as having 'no local connection' when it comes to getting on the housing list. God knows what 'local connection' some of the new tenants have. SGK2000

6:24pm Mon 19 Nov 12

All lefties Smell says...

That old chestnut, I am knocked up and pregnant and I don't know who the father is (honest) let me be in front of the queue for a council house. All of a sudden the dad returns and after a few years they are both doing well, I don't like living in this social housing I want to be like Jordan, lets get a mortgage and a house outta here. I know instead of telling the council, we could pay minimum rent and get massive returns by renting to new tenants. the excess rent will pay our mortgage and we are set up for life, thanks tax paying suckers and left wing antagonists.
That old chestnut, I am knocked up and pregnant and I don't know who the father is (honest) let me be in front of the queue for a council house. All of a sudden the dad returns and after a few years they are both doing well, I don't like living in this social housing I want to be like Jordan, lets get a mortgage and a house outta here. I know instead of telling the council, we could pay minimum rent and get massive returns by renting to new tenants. the excess rent will pay our mortgage and we are set up for life, thanks tax paying suckers and left wing antagonists. All lefties Smell

6:24pm Mon 19 Nov 12

All lefties Smell says...

That old chestnut, I am knocked up and pregnant and I don't know who the father is (honest) let me be in front of the queue for a council house. All of a sudden the dad returns and after a few years they are both doing well, I don't like living in this social housing I want to be like Jordan, lets get a mortgage and a house outta here. I know instead of telling the council, we could pay minimum rent and get massive returns by renting to new tenants. the excess rent will pay our mortgage and we are set up for life, thanks tax paying suckers and left wing antagonists.
That old chestnut, I am knocked up and pregnant and I don't know who the father is (honest) let me be in front of the queue for a council house. All of a sudden the dad returns and after a few years they are both doing well, I don't like living in this social housing I want to be like Jordan, lets get a mortgage and a house outta here. I know instead of telling the council, we could pay minimum rent and get massive returns by renting to new tenants. the excess rent will pay our mortgage and we are set up for life, thanks tax paying suckers and left wing antagonists. All lefties Smell

6:58pm Mon 19 Nov 12

davyboy says...

SGK2000 wrote:
So how does it work if an adult sibling moves back to the family home and therefore pays 'keep'?

Happens alot and will happen more as young Brightonians are forced to leave the City for cheaper rents but, if things go wrong and they have to move back home, they are then declared as having 'no local connection' when it comes to getting on the housing list.

God knows what 'local connection' some of the new tenants have.
that is different, as it is a family member, not an 'unknown' person. i quite agree re 'local' connection though. i would wonder how any foreign nationals have any local connections at all, yet many seem to be in council housing long before real locals. as for young girls getting pregnant and claiming a house or flat, well if you can't house yourself, stay at home with mum and dad. why on earth should we pay?
[quote][p][bold]SGK2000[/bold] wrote: So how does it work if an adult sibling moves back to the family home and therefore pays 'keep'? Happens alot and will happen more as young Brightonians are forced to leave the City for cheaper rents but, if things go wrong and they have to move back home, they are then declared as having 'no local connection' when it comes to getting on the housing list. God knows what 'local connection' some of the new tenants have.[/p][/quote]that is different, as it is a family member, not an 'unknown' person. i quite agree re 'local' connection though. i would wonder how any foreign nationals have any local connections at all, yet many seem to be in council housing long before real locals. as for young girls getting pregnant and claiming a house or flat, well if you can't house yourself, stay at home with mum and dad. why on earth should we pay? davyboy

7:12pm Mon 19 Nov 12

mimseycal says...

Hey hop ... bring up social housing and before long the hoary old chestnut of pregnant young girls (never mind that it takes two to tango) and foreign nationals gobbling up all the local housing comes up.
Hey hop ... bring up social housing and before long the hoary old chestnut of pregnant young girls (never mind that it takes two to tango) and foreign nationals gobbling up all the local housing comes up. mimseycal

8:34pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Somethingsarejustwrong says...

Andy R wrote:
Hoarder12345444 wrote:
It's not a huge issue if you rent out a room to bring in some income, if the house is privately owned. It becomes an issue if the house is paid for by public money. That is fraud and people should be done for doing it. It's wrong that people that are housed and get their bills paid for and yet they want more money and sub let their rooms when they aren't allowed to. Of course if it is your place and owned privately you can do it as much as you like, as YOU pay the mortgage and bills!!
Er......people rent council homes.....they're not free.

You do know that don't you......?
Genius, did you read about this or work it out on your own?
[quote][p][bold]Andy R[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Hoarder12345444[/bold] wrote: It's not a huge issue if you rent out a room to bring in some income, if the house is privately owned. It becomes an issue if the house is paid for by public money. That is fraud and people should be done for doing it. It's wrong that people that are housed and get their bills paid for and yet they want more money and sub let their rooms when they aren't allowed to. Of course if it is your place and owned privately you can do it as much as you like, as YOU pay the mortgage and bills!![/p][/quote]Er......people rent council homes.....they're not free. You do know that don't you......?[/p][/quote]Genius, did you read about this or work it out on your own? Somethingsarejustwrong

10:29pm Mon 19 Nov 12

Maxwell's Ghost says...

Now the council is licensing all HMOs perhaps it could cross check all the addresses in Moulsecoomb which are student rental properties with the council tenancy list.
Council rent £450pcm per house, student rental let £1200+pcm.
Now the council is licensing all HMOs perhaps it could cross check all the addresses in Moulsecoomb which are student rental properties with the council tenancy list. Council rent £450pcm per house, student rental let £1200+pcm. Maxwell's Ghost

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