Crackdown on illegal sub-letting saves council £126,000

The Civic Centre, Hemel Hempstead.

The Civic Centre, Hemel Hempstead.

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Keys from seven council homes which were being illegally sub-let in Dacorum have been recovered after a month-long rental amnesty.

Throughout June, Dacorum Borough Council ran the initiative which meant anyone illegally renting out their council home was able to come forward with the promise that no legal action would be taken against them.

It costs the council an average of £18,000 a year to house a family in temporary accommodation, so the recovery of the seven properties represents a saving of £126,000 for the council.

The campaign was part of a drive to crack down on tenancy fraud, the majority of which comes in the form illegal sub-letting.

It warned council tenants that this is now a criminal offence punishable by a two-year prison sentence and a fine.

They would also be ordered to pay back to the council any profits they have made.

The seven properties recovered from all over the Dacorum area will now be reallocated to provide stable homes for local families in genuine need.

Councillor Margaret Griffiths, portfolio holder for housing, said: “Our key amnesty has been a warning, to make it clear to our tenants that we will not tolerate housing fraud.

“Now the amnesty is over we will be stepping up our efforts to investigate those breaking the law and recover council properties to provide homes to those who need it most.

“If you have information about suspected housing fraud in Dacorum I urge you to tell us, in strict confidence, by calling the dedicated hotline on 01442 228685 or email tenancyfraud@dacorum.org.uk.”

Further information can be accessed at www.dacorum.gov.uk/keyamnesty