Tenants of a housing association who are illegally sub-letting their homes are being encouraged to hand back their keys without suffering legal action as part of a new initiative.
The move by Hightown Homes – based on the Maylands estate in Hemel Hempstead – is in response to the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013, which makes it a criminal offence for social housing tenants to sublet their properties.
This comes after a recent case in Hemel Hempstead, where it was discovered that a man was renting the home from Hightown’s tenant who he claimed was a friend.
He had thought that he was legitimately renting the property, but as he was not the rightful tenant he had no legal right to live there.
Once the property had been repossessed, Hightown was able to re-let the home to a person in genuine housing need.
Hightown chief executive David Bogle said: “There is currently real pressure on the supply of social housing and our homes are needed for people in genuine housing need.
“I would urge any Hightown tenant who is illegally sub-letting their home to take advantage of this amnesty and to contact us.
“We know that the overwhelming majority of our residents live in their homes legally and support a fair system for allocating scarce affordable housing.
“I would also encourage anyone who suspects someone of committing tenancy fraud to let us know.”
The amnesty runs until the end of Feburary, and tenants wishing to report somebody who may be illegally sub-letting their home can do so by calling the 24-hour reporting line on 07768 286694, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.