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Government offers bounty to shop' neighbour tenancy cheats

PUBLISHED: 15:25 30 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:18 05 October 2010

THE Government is offering a £500 bounty to anyone on a housing estate willing to grass' on their neighbour if they're unlawfully subletting their property. It is part of a crackdown by Housing Minister John Healey today on tenancy cheats

By Mike Brooke

THE Government is offering a £500 bounty to anyone on a housing estate willing to 'grass' on their neighbour if they're unlawfully subletting their property.

It is part of a crackdown by Housing Minister John Healey today on tenancy cheats.

He wants to claw back 10,000 council and housing association homes being fraudulently sublet and release them to families on the housing list.

Half of all homes recovered from cheats follow tip-offs from neighbours.

So Mr Healey is offering cash to anyone whose information leads to the recovery of one of the first 1,000 homes.

"We can't allow cheats to hang on to the tenancies they don't need and don't live in," he said.

"Public tip-offs are vital in tackling this problem. So I am offering £500 to anyone whose information leads to us recovering one of the first homes. This could free up 10,000 homes for those on council waiting lists."

The crackdown has been endorsed by 147 local authorities up and down the country, including Tower Hamlets, neighbouring Hackney and Newham and all the London boroughs.

It involves £4 million to set up anti-fraud schemes including hotlines and 'squads' of council officers to investigate fraud allegations.

Mr Healey today handed 8,000 'leads' to housing authorities to follow to potential tenancy cheats, resulting from Audit Commission data sweeps that match tenancy details against records held by councils, housing associations and other public bodies.

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