Thursday 12th December 2019
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01/11/2019 - Give back your key and we won’t take any legal action!

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Tenants who break the rules and cheat others out of a home are being given a chance to change their ways and avoid being prosecuted by Luton Council.

​Throughout November, tenants who wish to avoid the severe consequences of their actions can hand back their keys giving us vacant possession and terminate the tenancy by going to the Town Hall, George Street, Luton, LU1 2BQ. In return they will not face legal action of any kind.

The council runs checks throughout the year to catch this type of behaviour and is becoming increasingly successful at prosecuting cheats. The penalties can be severe, with a jail term of up to two years and fines of up to £50,000 possible.

Types of tenancy fraud:
  • lying about circumstances in order to rent a home you wouldn’t otherwise be entitled to
  • subletting a home by moving out completely and charging other family members,  friends or strangers rent on the home
  • falsely claiming to have been living in the house for a number of years after a tenant dies
  • pretending to have been caring for the former tenant, in order to be given the tenancy
  • abandoning the property without telling us
Cllr Tom Shaw, Portfolio Holder for housing, said: “However it is done, tenancy fraud is a very serious issue. It restricts the amount of housing available for those with a genuine need and it wastes council tax payers’ money as we have to provide temporary accommodation.
 
"The amnesty is a chance to avoid the consequences of being caught by coming forward voluntarily.”
 
Information relating to tenancy fraud can be provided by e-mail [email protected].
 
What happens when the amnesty is over?
We will continue to work with the Shared Anti-Fraud Service at Herts County Council to investigate and take action against those committing tenancy fraud. Last year a total of 21 properties were recovered and fraudulent Right to Buy applications were stopped due to the work of the housing team and the fraud services.
 
In the month of October we were successful in getting a court order for possession of a two bed property where the tenant had been subletting. The tenant has to pay court costs of £11,200.
 
Any on-going investigations where legal action is pending will not be included in the amnesty.
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