Study reveals issues with social housing

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SOCIAL housing providers need to target tenancy fraud if they want to save money, a recent study has found.

Figures released last week show that in 2013 the National Fraud Authority identified housing tenancy fraud as the second largest drain on local government coffers caused by fraud in England, with an annual cost of £845m – more than benefit fraud .

Housing tenancy fraud occurs when a tenant unlawfully sublets a council or housing association-owned property to someone else, when a family abandons a house or does not occupy that property as their principal home.

The study, by the University of Portsmouth master’s student and head of counter fraud at the Audit Commission Alan Bryce is the first to identify the true scale of the problem, and to suggest ways to combat it.

He said: ‘These figures are only starting to make a dent in the problem. There is a lot of good practice happening in non-London social housing providers – what these people need to do is share their knowledge with each other.’