“ILLEGALLY SUB-LET YOUR HOME AND YOU’LL LOSE IT” CROYDON WARNS TENANTS / DISUSED CARE HOME TO BE USED FOR TEMPORARY ACCOMMODATION FOR HOMELESS
“ILLEGALLY SUB-LET YOUR HOME AND YOU’LL LOSE IT” CROYDON WARNS TENANTS
ILLEGALLY SUB-LET your home and you WILL lose it – that is the stark warning being made to council tenants in the borough of Croydon.
The council are adding the warning to the rent statements of just over 14,000 council tenants.
The move comes after the council repossessed two homes.
In the first instance, the housing standards team discovered that the tenant of a three-bedroom house in Waddon had moved to Australia and left an unauthorised person living at the address.
In the second, a two-bedroom property in New Addington was recovered when it came to light that the tenant was believed to have moved to Portugal.
“The move is a bid to ensure that our housing stock is fairly distributed to families registered on our list” said a council spokeswoman.
“Tackling the problem of sub-letting, while seeking to meet the needs of homeless families, we are sending a clear message to all our tenants.
“While accepting that the majority of residents abide by the rules, the council are striving to crack down on those who move out and leave their keys with another person, and we are asking people to report any suspected cases of tenancy fraud.
“With a guarantee that their identity will not be revealed, they are asked to contact their tenancy officer or the housing standards team.
“Alternatively, they can call the tenancy fraud hotline on 0800 328 9270 or report their suspicions online atwww.croydon.gov.uk/housingfraud .”
Cllr Alison Butler, cabinet member for homes and regeneration, said: “People who sub-let their council homes are, in addition to committing fraud, depriving genuine cases of homelessness of a roof above their heads.
“The council has only a limited number of properties and a growing number of families asking us for help.
“We want to help as many of those as we can and are keen to ensure that the properties we have go to those who have done the right thing in registering and joining the housing list.
“They often have to wait a long time, and meet certain criteria, before they are offered a property. “It’s not right that others ignore the rules, jump the queue and move into a home to which they’re not entitled.
“We investigate tip-offs of sub-letting, including doing data checks and carrying out visits to suspected addresses.” (Source: Croydon council press release.)
DISUSED CARE HOME TO BE USED FOR TEMPORARY ACCOMMODATION FOR HOMELESS
Bromley council say they expect to realise annual savings in excess of £250,000 over the next five years following an executive decision to modify a disused care home to provide temporary accommodation for those who become homeless in the borough.
“Dramatically rising homeless numbers during recent years combined with reducing suitable affordable accommodation such as new build, housing association re-lets and private rented homes, have meant the number of statutory homeless households placed in temporary accommodation has also risen” said Bromley in a statement..
“This has moved the provision of temporary accommodation for statutory homeless households from a largely ‘cost neutral’ position to an estimated full year cost of more that £5 million as numbers and nightly rates continue to rise.
“By adopting an ‘invest to save’ principle and upgrading the building which housed the former Manorfields care home in Avalon Road, Orpington, some 44 units of flexible accommodation will be created.
“Though the renovation is expected to cost a little over half a million pounds, the resulting savings over a five year period will significantly out-weight the upfront investment.
“This follows an existing successful model opened a year ago which has provided local accommodation for more than 60 families whilst the council has worked with them to secure long term settled accommodation.
“It is expected, subject to planning permission, that the renovations will be completed and the new temporary accommodation will be in use by May 2015.”
Bromley council leader Cllr Stephen Carr said: “This is a good example of an invest-to-save project where an initial outlay of council funds is considered prudent to effect greater savings over time.
“The growing need for accommodation for homeless families is just one of the pressures on council services at a time when we are required to find a further £60 million savings over the next four years in addition to £61 million already made.
“We investigate the delivery of all our services – whether statutory on not – to ensure we make the best use of tax payers’ money by providing them as effectively and efficiently as possible.
“Where there is a convincing business case for making an investment to reduce long term costs, we aim to support the initiative as in this case.” (Source: Bromley council press release.)