The 105,000-home housing association made 100 tenancy recoveries the year before

L&Q announced that it has recovered 143 homes from tenancy fraud, to give to people “in genuine housing need” over the last year.

L&Q offices

Source: L&Q

The housing association reported that between April 2023 and March 2024, it received 601 new referrals concerning tenancy fraud, all of which underwent desktop investigations “at a minimum”.

It also carried out 202 out-of-hours home visits to investigate tenancy fraud referrals.

According to L&Q figures shared with Housing Today for the year before, the housing association received 639 referrals and made 100 tenancy recoveries between January 2022 and March 2023.

Tenancy fraud refers to the use of social housing by someone who is not entitled to it, either through illegal subletting or obtaining a tenancy ‘dishonestly’.

One of the Regulator of Social Housing’s updated consumer standards that came into force on 1 April is the tenancy standard, which mandates that registered providers “take action to prevent and address tenancy fraud”.

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>> See also: Evolution or revolution? What the Regulator of Social Housing’s new consumer standards mean for RPs

L&Q has a specialist in-house team made up of four qualified investigators who specialise in counter-fraud, who “spend their time looking into potentially fraudulent cases”.

L&Q piloted a programme to prevent social housing fraud in 2012, which led to it creating a team of two investigators, which it funded for five years. However, financial constraints and a restructure in 2018 meant that the service was no longer deemed viable.

In 2022, L&Q set up another dedicated counter fraud team, consisting of four investigators and one manager. The investigators are qualified counter-fraud specialists with knowledge of housing, fraud and the law surrounding investigation and other potential offences.

Nicola Evans, tenancy fraud manager at L&Q and chair of the G15 fraud group said: “I’m so proud of my team for building on the success of previous years. Their continued efforts with our partners, colleagues and residents mean we’re recovering homes when waiting lists are at an all-time high”.

Evans added: “It’s sometimes said that tenancy fraud is a victimless crime – it’s anything but. With every property that’s sublet illegally, and every tenancy obtained dishonestly, that’s another family or individual deprived of a home. A stark yet useful reminder of the challenges posed by tenancy fraud and a reason why we should continue to make it a priority.”