Our partnership with Circle Housing Circle 33 to detect, prevent and tackle social housing tenancy fraud across its entire 8,400 general needs housing stock has already yielded superb results.
Within the first six months of the partnership, 65 properties were reclaimed from tenants who had been illegally sub-letting their homes – double the number recovered in the whole of 2012. Tackling this illegally activity ensures homes can be given to the rightful tenants.
Circle Housing Circle 33 is part of the Circle Housing Group and manages properties across several areas of London including its key boroughs of Camden, Islington, Haringey, Hackney & Waltham Forest.
Circle Housing Circle 33 is also now working closely with us to filter and screen current tenancy records across its general needs housing stock, using a data-matching technique to flag potentially fraudulent records, or properties which are a high or very high-risk of fraud. Circle Housing Circle 33 also plans to implement our Rental Exchange – a secure and compliant way to include up-to-date rental payment information on tenants living in social housing. By sharing this information, Circle Housing Circle 33 will be able to detect unlawful occupancy across multiple housing associations.
Our housing fraud expertise, combined with Circle Housing Circle 33’s experienced investigators, have so far identified six per cent of properties under management as high or very high risk, all of which required investigation. For these cases, Circle Housing Circle 33 investigators need to prove that the registered lawful tenants are not using their social housing properties as their main and principal home, living at a separate location, or that someone other than the registered tenant is occupying the social home and that they have parted with possession of the property.
Latest figures suggest that £900 million a year is lost on social housing tenancy fraud. Sub-letting is a significant issue contributing to the problem, and the most common type of fraud faced by housing associations across the UK. Although housing associations have no financial gain in preventing sub-letting, as housing is left unoccupied for periods after recovery, many associations, such as Circle Housing Circle 33, recognise the importance of claiming back properties for those who are in genuine need of them.
Due to the success of the current partnership, Circle Housing Group is now considering the roll-out of our data matching services across its other eight housing associations – Mercian, Merton Priory, Mole Valley, Old Ford, Roddons, Russet, South Anglia and Wherry.