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Join your Councils fight against fraud. Report it!

4th April 2016

The - report it - campaign is a new initiative by The Highland Councils Corporate Fraud Team which is asking residents to help them tackle fraud. The Fraud Team, which is situated in the Finance Service, was established in August 2015 to detect, investigate and prevent all frauds against the Council, including housing tenancy fraud (the use of Council housing by someone not entitled to occupy that home). The campaign includes posters and leaflets which will be displayed in Council-run public buildings and on the Council's website.

A report to the Audit and Scrutiny Committee on 24th March 2016 highlighted the Teams early success in investigating tenancy fraud. Currently 4 properties have been recovered and 4 properties are pending. In addition, a further 8 properties are currently being investigated. All work is undertaken working closely with the Area Housing Service staff.

In June 2014, Audit Scotland reported that the cost of tenancy fraud was in the region of £18,000 per property, per year, based upon the cost of housing a family in temporary accommodation for a year.

Types of tenancy fraud include:
Moving out of Council housing and renting it to someone without your landlord's consent or for financial gain. (Illegal sub-letting).
Moving out of Council housing or claiming that you are living there when you are not.
Obtaining Council housing through deception, by making a fraudulent application.
Deliberately misleading your landlord about who is occupying the tenancy for financial gain.

Chair of the Councils Audit and Scrutiny Committee, Cllr Richard Laird said It is pleasing to see that the initial work carried out by the Fraud Team has had such positive results in its first six months of operation. It is important that Council housing in Highland is allocated to those in most need and every case of tenancy fraud means someone is losing out on the opportunity of a house. This is made even worse where people are profiteering through illegally subletting their Council house.

Anyone with information or suspicions about tenancy fraud or any other fraud against the Council can report this, in strict confidence, to the Team by emailing corporate.fraud@highland.gov.uk, by reporting on line at www.highland.gov.uk/fraud or by calling the Fraud Hotline on 0800854183.

If you are a Council tenant you do have a right to sublet your property in certain circumstances, but you must ask for permission first. If you want to find out more about your tenancy rights please see:

http://www.highland.gov.uk/info/925/council_housing/255/your_council_tenancy/3

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