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Radius Housing

Give it Up - Tenancy Fraud Key Amnesty During May

02 May 2017

Radius Housing is taking part in a ‘key amnesty’ throughout the month of May in a bid to help tackle tenancy fraud along with the NI Housing Executive and other housing associations across Northern Ireland.
The  key amnesty is a time-limited campaign that seeks to bring social housing properties, currently subject to tenancy fraud, back into use, for re-let to applicants in housing need on the waiting list and raise awareness amongst the general public about the need to report suspected tenancy fraud.
Eileen Patterson, Director of Communities, Radius Housing said, “Radius is committed to preventing, detecting and tackling tenancy fraud where it exists within our developments to ensure our homes are legally occupied by people entitled to live in them.  Every year in Northern Ireland, people on the housing waiting list are being denied a home because someone is being dishonest about their housing needs.
“Tenancy fraud occurs in many ways, from not telling the truth when applying for a home,  or when someone rents - or sublets - their home to another person without our knowledge or permission or when a tenant leaves their home empty without informing us – all of these situations mean that a family  or an individual who need a home are not able to be offered one because tenancy fraud is being committed.
She added, “During the month of May we are encouraging any tenant who is not occupying their property or is committing other forms of tenancy fraud, to voluntarily surrender their tenancy during the specified one month period. No legal action will be taken against them in respect of the tenancy fraud and  we will not serve a  formal notice period  so long as a tenancy termination is signed.
“Anyone who wishes to avail of the key amnesty should speak to their Housing Officer and declare that they want to give up the property under the key amnesty so we can start the process of offering the property to someone who needs a home.”
The key amnesty allows a tenant to hand in the keys to their property and terminate their tenancy without legal action being taken against them in respect of the tenancy fraud. It does not exempt the tenant from any potential future action that may be taken by the housing association or the Housing Executive, legal or otherwise, for example to recover rent arrears or housing benefit overpayments.  Furthermore, it does not exempt the tenant from action by other agencies because of current or future investigations into other types of fraud such as benefit fraud in relation to the property that has been terminated.'

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