At least £90,000 of tax payers’ money has been saved following Crawley council’s tenancy amnesty.
The amnesty saw five former tenants hand their keys backs without fear of prosecution in July and August.
A council spokesman said five families genuinely in need of a stable home will have one soon as a result.
At least £18,000 per property was saved in costs such as temporary accommodation, not including the costs of lengthy fraud investigations and court.
Councillor Stephen Joyce, cabinet member for Housing, said: “This is a great result; we’ve never tried this in Crawley before and we weren’t sure if we’d get any properties back at all.
“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.”
A council spokesman said: “Tenancy fraud is not just a breach of the tenancy agreement, it’s a serious crime carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. “As a local authority, Crawley 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.
The council’s Housing Help Point can offer advice on housing to anyone who may be affected. Call 01293 438608 or visit the Town Hall.
People were asked to report suspected housing cheats to the council’s Investigations Team by calling 0800 634 0180, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.crawley.gov.uk/fraud and fill in the e-form.
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