Four homes will now be made available to those in need of social housing in Kensington and Chelsea, as the Council crack down on tenancy fraud.
Due diligence checks on various applications flagged fraudulent submissions and an illegal sublet that had been going on for several years.
All of the recovered properties are now in the hands of the Council’s voids team to ensure they are of a lettable standard before one of the 3,000 applicants on its housing waiting list can move in.
Following a Right to Buy application by the listed tenant for a one-bedroom property in Ladbroke Grove, W10, an unannounced visit by the Council revealed three subtenants living there. Each of the subtenants were paying £850 per month in cash to the tenant who had falsely led them to believe he owned the property. Evidence gathered by the Council for the resulting court case showed the tenant hadn’t lived at the property for several years and had been renting it out for £2,550 per calendar month.
Had the tenant’s Right to Buy application been successful and his illegal sublet not been uncovered, he would have been able to purchase a property worth over £300,000 with a £100,000 discount.
Cllr Kim-Taylor Smith, Lead Member for Housing, said:
With a chronic shortage of housing across London, we need to make sure it’s going to those who are genuinely eligible and in need of a home.
Our team checks all applications and acts on intelligence and when fraudulent applications are discovered, we act quickly to recover those properties and give them to individuals and families on our housing waiting list.
I would urge anyone with information on tenancy fraud, or who suspects a property is being illegally sublet, to report what they know as soon as possible.
Three further properties have been recovered following verification checks on succession applications after it was found the individuals applying to take over the tenancy from their family members were not eligible.
A nephew attempted to succeed the tenancy of a one-bedroom flat on Cyldesdale Road, W11, but checks revealed he had lied on his application form and had never previously lived with the tenant prior to their passing and instead lived with his wife and children in Barnet.
A daughter made an application to succeed the tenancy of a two-bedroom property on Powis Square, W11, following the unfortunate passing of her mother but she had in fact not lived in the property since 2007 and was living in Ipswich in a property owned by her partner.
An individual contacted the Council to apply for his wife to be a joint tenant at a three-bedroom property on Wiltshire Close, SW3, but checks showed he wasn’t actually the listed tenant. When questioned about this, the man said he lived with the tenant but further checks revealed the actual tenant had lived in Turkey since 2020.
Tenancy fraud deprives those on the housing list and in genuine need of a home, a place to call their own. It is estimated that nationally every case costs the public purse £42,000 on average. If you know of, or suspect, anyone committing tenancy fraud, in Kensington and Chelsea you can contact the Council’s Housing Investigations Team on 020 7605 6401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.