Tenancy fraud forum to launch in April

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Posted on: 02/04/2012 10:22 by Andrew Hyatt
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The Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), in partnership with social landlord Viridian Housing and supported by the Audit Commission and National Fraud Authority (NFA) will launch the country’s first Tenancy Fraud Forum in April this year.

Social landlords are encouraged to join the forum, bringing together their ideas and exchange information, share best practice and be the central point for practitioners in the field. The forum will launch at 10am on Wednesday, 25 April at the Department for Communities and Local Government, at Eland House in London.

The forum is supported by Grant Shapps MP who said: "Tenancy cheats can earn thousands of pounds letting out their property, while millions of people in need of a secure, stable home are left languishing on waiting lists. That’s why I’ve proposed to make tenancy fraud a criminal offence, to ensure perpetrators face more than just a slap on the wrist for their actions. And it’s why I welcome this new Tenancy Fraud Forum, which will provide a new way for landlords across the country to share ideas and intelligence to stop the cheats once and for all.”

Forum Chair and Head of Legal Services at Viridian Housing, Katrina Robinson, said the forum is an important step in working towards combating tenancy fraud in social housing.

“Our forum will be the only one of its kind in the UK. We recognised the growing number of issues around tenancy fraud and the cost for both landlords and the government. This forum will provide a great platform to foster the change this industry needs,” said Katrina.

Eugene Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Audit Commission said: “Housing
tenancy fraud is not a victimless crime, - it reduces the quality of life for tens thousands of families who are unable to access social housing. Tenancy fraud affects families on housing waiting lists and cost taxpayers at least £900 million per year. It is essential for social housing providers and local authorities to work together sharing best practice, knowledge and experience to tackle tenancy fraud and free up homes for those in need. In particular they should make better use of data matching services, such as the National Fraud Initiative, and take part in the Tenancy Fraud Forum”.

Grainia Long, Chief Executive of CIH said: “It is important for providers to make the best use of a scarce resource and it is unfair that some people are misusing the system at the expense of others who need housing. This forum will be effective in bringing together organisations who are keen to share good practice.”

The meetings will include topical discussions and presentations from experts in the field. Once established, the forum will set up regional groups in locations across the country.

For further information or to express interest in attending, please email tenancyfraudforum@viridianhousing.org.uk or telephone 0203 202 3621.