Tenancy fraud - a case study

Instinct helps to reveal sub-letting resident

Not everyone who lives in our homes behaves quite as they should. Recently, a tenancy adviser became suspicious when dealing with a mutual exchange request. The resident wanted to exchange to a local authority-managed property in the same London borough she already lived in. She was being very impatient and encouraging us to rush things through for her, before we had even received any paperwork from the council tenant she hoped to swap homes with. 

The resident raised a complaint about delays and tried to pressure the adviser into speeding up the process. She then insisted she needed lots of notice for the home visit we carry out before a mutual exchange to inspect the property. This led us to believe she may not be living at the address.

The case was referred to a tenancy officer, who notified the local authority fraud team. If the mutual exchange went ahead, the resident would become their tenant and if she was subletting our property, it was likely she would do the same with the home she swapped to.

After investigating, we discovered the resident was living in, and working in Great Yarmouth. She denied this was the case and was initially quite abrupt. However, once we served her with the relevant legal notices, she surrendered her keys.

This was a great outcome for both Hyde and the local authority. It was apparent she wanted to swap to a more desirable property, so she could increase her rental income and potentially purchase the property through the Right to Buy scheme.

Well done to the staff members involved for listening to their gut instincts. This property can now be allocated to put a much-needed roof over a new resident’s head, where they make it a home, rather than abusing it to make a profit. 

Find out more about how we tackle tenancy fraud