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What is Social Housing Fraud?

This is our comprehensive guidance to what is social housing fraud, if you wish to report fraud please do so via our online webform. 

Social Housing Fraud is often referred to as Tenancy Fraud and there are several types. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Unlawful subletting - where a tenant rents out their home without the knowledge or permission of the landlord
  • Obtaining housing by deception - where a person gets a home by giving false information on their housing application
  • Wrongly claimed succession - where the resident dies and someone tries to take over or succeed the tenancy when they are not entitled to
  • Key selling - where a resident is paid to pass on their keys in return for a one-off payment
  • Unlawful assignment - where a resident stops using their tenancy as their main or principal home, allowing another person to live there without permission from ARHAG
  • False Right To Buy/Right To Acquire - where a tenant resident makes a Right to Buy or Right to acquire application and gives false information in their application

Why it's important to tackle tenancy fraud

Social housing is a valuable asset to the public and often a lifeline to the people it's meant for, given the desperate shortage of affordable homes. Housing associations like ARHAG have to make sure that they make the best use of the homes they own and ensure that the people living there are legally entitled to be there. People who are already in need of social housing and on the waiting list will have to wait even longer if homes continue to be occupied by people who have no right to live there.

What ARHAG does to tackle tenancy fraud

We take tenancy fraud very seriously and will take action to regain possession of properties and recover any unlawful profits made by residents wherever we find evidence of tenancy fraud. Our right to do this has been enforced by the government in The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013.

The introduction of this Act, often referred to as PoSHFA, made tenancy fraud a criminal offence, which in the very worst instances could result in 2 Years in Prison and or a maximum of £50,000 in fines.

Our staff will carry out regular tenancy audits and complete tenancy audit forms as part of our letting and housing management activities to make sure that the right people are living in our properties. We work with other social landlords and statutory agencies to detect fraud where the law requires and where information sharing protocols are in place.

What you can do to help

Do you know someone in a home who is renting it out without permission, got their home by giving false information or is living somewhere else (someone else may be living at the property or it may be empty)? Then they could potentially be committing tenancy fraud, using up valuable housing accommodation and depriving families and vulnerable people who are on the waiting list. 

There are many ways you can get in touch with us about tenancy fraud:

Any information you give us will be treated in the strictest of confidence and your identity will be protected. You can report the suspected fraud anonymously but please give us as much information as possible to help our investigations. The more information that we have the better the chance we have of stopping it.

If you are happy to disclose your contact details then this may help if we need to contact you for more information or to clarify something that you have told us.