26 August, 2014
Guinness Hermitage, a division of the Guinness Partnership, has taken possession of one of its properties in Cheltenham following reports that the tenant was unlawfully subletting the flat whilst working abroad.
An anonymous tip off was posted on the Gloucestershire Tenancy Fraud Forum website saying that the occupier of a property in Lansdown Crescent, Cheltenham was subletting. Guinness Hermitage staff subsequently found the property advertised on a Cheltenham lettings website. Interviews with local residents confirmed that the tenant had moved abroad and that the two-bed flat was being sublet.
Staff acted quickly and, with the support of Forbes Solicitors, started possession proceedings. This had the desired effect -as, in order to avoid further legal action, the tenant made the decision to hand her keys back to her landlord.
Rachel Stafford, Guinness Hermitage Tenancy Management and Enforcement Officer, said:
"With the help of the Gloucestershire Tenancy Fraud Forum we were able to identify and tackle social housing tenancy fraud. It is our priority to allocate our homes to people in genuine housing need, and to ensure that people are not unfairly profiting from our homes. We encourage any local residents who have concerns that a social housing property is being sublet near them to report it on the Gloucestershire Tenancy Fraud Forum website at www.tellustoday.co.uk."
Louise Morton, Housing Manager, said:
"This was a major success for Guinness Hermitage, and demonstrated excellent partnership working with the Gloucestershire Tenancy Fraud Forum, Forbes Solicitors, and our colleagues in Legal Services. It is important that we allocate our properties to people in genuine housing need and that we take a zero tolerance approach when this is abused.
Lucie Cocker of Forbes Solicitors added:
"We are delighted to have assisted Guinness Hermitage in achieving this result. It sends a strong message to other tenants that unlawful subletting is not a risk free get rich quick scheme!"