Stoke on Trent Housing Society has joined the Staffordshire Counter Fraud Partnership with the aim of keeping public money in the county out of the hands of fraudsters.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council, working with Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, created the Staffordshire Counter Fraud Partnership in 2019 to combine resources aimed at tackling fraud against both authorities. The partnership now includes nine local authorities and three housing associations. Stoke on Trent Housing Society join Aspire Housing and Staffs Housing in the partnership.
Examples of housing fraud include:
- Housing tenancy - non-residency or sub-letting
- Right to buy - providing false information to qualify for a discount
Housing fraud takes money away from public services, and council properties from people who need them.
The housing association has joined the partnership as it launches a housing tenancy fraud awareness campaign. All three housing associations will be working with Stoke-on-Trent City Council to encourage people to report their suspicions of housing fraud.
Councillor Abi Brown, leader of the city council said: “Housing tenancy fraud is one of the most widespread frauds committed and so having Stoke-on-Trent Housing join the partnership will really help to make Staffordshire a no-go county for fraudsters. Those who misrepresent their circumstances to the council are cheating the honest residents of Stoke-on-Trent out of public funds which could be spent on essential services.
Schemes like Right to Buy can provide a foot on the property ladder to many people but fraudulent applications take money from vital local services as well as taking housing stock away from genuine council tenants.”
Sue Davies, Housing Director at Stoke-on-Trent Housing said: “Tenancy fraud means that people in genuine need of housing are losing out. Not only is this unfair it is illegal, which is why Stoke on Trent Housing Society is pleased to be working with Staffordshire Counter Fraud Partnership to tackle this issue.”
Anyone can report suspected fraudulent activity online at www.staffsfraud.org, by calling the council’s hotline on 01782 236800 or via email at email@example.com. All reports will be treated confidentially and can be made anonymously.
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