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Tower Hamlets council cracks down on illegally sublet homes

PUBLISHED: 13:00 22 June 2010 | UPDATED: 16:11 05 October 2010

ILLEGALLY sub-let homes are being targeted in a tough crackdown that has reclaimed seven properties since May. Tower Hamlets council says more properties are currently under investigation it tries to free up homes for people who are in legitimate housing

ILLEGALLY sub-let homes are being targeted in a tough crackdown that has reclaimed seven properties since May.

Tower Hamlets council says more properties are currently under investigation it tries to free up homes for people who are in legitimate housing need.

The council is examining local and national data to identify tenancy cheats who are taking advantage of the housing system by securing socially rented homes which they are not entitled to.

A spokesman said East Enders are also helping with the crackdown, reporting properties they suspect are illegally sub-let, and their whistle-blowing has led to three recoveries so far.

The council's housing chief Cllr Marc Francis said: "These recovered homes are now being allocated to people who truly need them, which is good news for those on the borough's housing waiting list.

"We have also found that illegally sub-let properties often attract unwanted behaviour such as drugs, prostitution and abuse.

"The crackdown is helping to tackle this kind of behaviour and make our neighbourhoods safer places to live."

Cllr David Edgar, resources chief, added: "The council will pursue all possible avenues to identify and stop fraudulent activity.

"We are working with the National Fraud Initiative, the borough's Registered Social Landlords and neighbouring boroughs through East London Solutions to share data and discover people who appear to have more than one council home.

"Our investigators are highly experienced in the housing benefit system, so they know what to look for and they're already achieving results after just a few weeks on the job.

"Local whistle-blowers have also been a valuable source of information, and I encourage people to get in touch with us if they suspect a neighbouring property is being illegally sub-let."

Posters encouraging people to report suspected illegal sub-letting behaviour are on display in doctors' surgeries, medical walk in centres and Tower Hamlets Homes properties across the borough.

To report suspected illegal activity, use the free-phone hotline 0800 528 0294 or email anti-fraud@towerhamlets.gov.uk.


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