THE ANTI-FRAUD team at Bromsgrove District Housing Trust (BDHT) has saved the organisation and its customers £140,000 by successfully targeting those seeking to secure social homes they are not legally entitled to.
With housing fraud on the rise, the trust set up a dedicated team 18 months ago to investigate suspected fraud under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2012.
Working with the National Anti-Fraud Network and residents the team was able to identify fraudulent activity and, where necessary, reclaimed properties for eligible tenants.
BDHT’s communities first manager Annette Trow said: “We take housing fraud very seriously as it strips away money desperately needed to provide homes for those in urgent need of social housing.
“We have seen a particular increase in right-to-buy fraud, where we have received a request to buy a property but we discovered that the named tenant was no longer living at the address and someone else, usually a relative, was trying to purchase the property at a reduced rate.”
Fraud is a criminal offence and has severe consequences, potentially carrying a prison sentence of up to ten years.
BDHT’s chief executive Mark Robertson added: “It is sad that it was necessary for us to develop an anti-fraud team to combat the issues we and other housing associations are facing from a relatively small number of residents.”