Social housing cheats in Lancashire are being offered a ‘no questions asked’ deal if they hand their keys back to their landlord before the end of February.
The amnesty has been announced by Chorley Community Housing (CCH) which says that from March it will use recent changes in the law to press criminal charges against people illegally subletting any of the 4,000 homes it manages in Lancashire.
Tenancy enforcement manager Debbie Parkinson said: “The law was changed in 2013 and it is now a criminal offence to sublet a housing association property without the permission of the landlord.
“Offenders could get two years in prison and a fine of up to £5,000. They could also face a civil action to recover costs.”
She added: “As a landlord we take the issue of tenancy fraud, whether it’s moving out and letting to a stranger or just handing the keys on to a family member without going through the proper processes, extremely seriously and we have a member of staff dedicated to catching tenancy cheats.
“This amnesty is a chance for people to come clean and avoid punishment before we come down hard on those who think they can get away with this.”
Action by the CCH tenancy enforcement teams has helped identified 37 social housing frauds in the last two years, eight of which were in Lancashire.