Crawley Borough Council is appealing to tenants who no longer live in their council property or are sub-letting to give their keys back to the council without fear of prosecution.
The amnesty starts on Wednesday (July 1) in a bid to provide homes for families on the housing register who need them.
Councillor Stephen Joyce, Cabinet member for Housing, said: “There are many families and individuals in Crawley who are in serious need of council housing support. It’s simply not right for properties to be sitting empty because the tenant has moved in with a partner for example or is even living elsewhere and making money from renting a council property out.
“We don’t expect this amnesty to deliver huge results but even one or two properties will make the world of difference to those who get to live in them. It could also make a big difference to tenants who take advantage of it, meaning they could avoid a prison sentence of up to two years for the most serious offences.”
The keys can be returned to the Town Hall reception in an envelope with the address clearly written on it.
A council spokesman said: “Tenancy fraud is not just a breach of the tenancy agreement, it’s a serious crime too and it’s likely the council will catch-up with tenants committing this fraud. As a local authority, Crawley Borough Council has powers to obtain information from a number of sources to help fight against this crime.”
Since 2011, almost 70 properties in Crawley have been recovered and brought back into lawful use following tenancy fraud.
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