Tower Hamlets Council, Tower Hamlets Homes and local housing associations today launched a housing amnesty across the borough.
The initiative will help recover illegally sublet social housing and stamp out fraud costing residents and the council an estimated £13 million per year.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:
“It is wrong for people to make a quick buck at the expense of those who desperately need a permanent home.
“Illegal sublets have a serious social and economic cost. Our priority is to get social housing back, to support the people on our housing list and to protect the public purse.”
Cllr Sirajul Islam, Statutory Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Housing Management & Performance, added:
”There is a national shortage of social housing. In Tower Hamlets we are committed to ensuring that this important resource is delivered to those who need it. We will honour the amnesty, but we will use all our powers to stamp out tenancy fraud going forward.”
The amnesty runs until March 6, giving tenants the chance to hand back their keys to the council or housing association, without consequence, if they are illegally subletting properties.
Tenancy fraud is a criminal offence which can incur a prison sentence, a criminal record or a fine for £5000.