The housing fraud initiative introduced by Arun District Council in January 2016 is proving a success. A request to continue this work for another year was discussed at the Housing and Customer Services Working Group meeting on 15 September 2016 with recommendations to be made at a future Full Council meeting.
Arun District Council recruited their first housing fraud investigator with the aim of bringing 10 properties back into legitimate housing use during 2016. With three months of the year still remaining, this target has been met and is set to be exceeded by another house being back in the Council’s allocation process during September.
Cllr Trevor Bence, Cabinet Member for housing said, “This is such an important service within Arun District Council. Preventing and detecting fraud in relation to the Council’s housing function is vital. This includes subletting of council properties, tenants living elsewhere, fraudulent housing register allocation and Right to Buy fraud.
“We need to ensure we are making best use of our housing stock so that we can manage the increasing demand for social housing as effectively as possible. This initiative has established a ‘zero tolerance’ culture and the Council are confident in their assurances to Arun residents that they are preventing individuals from taking advantage of its social housing resources.”
During January to September 2016 65 cases of possible fraud have been considered. The Audit Commission has assessed that bringing a social housing property back into legitimate use brings a financial saving of £18,000 to a housing authority. Using that nominal sum, as well as the prevention of Right to Buy and housing benefit and council tax fraud that have been identified, this initiative has saved in the region of £300,000 to date.
You can report suspected cases of housing fraud to Justine Moore at Arun District Council on 01903 737878.