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Golding Homes, along with 13 other Housing associations and local councils across Kent, have agreed a 'key amnesty' to residents who are committing tenancy fraud such as subletting their home or charging other people to live there while they stay elsewhere.
During June's month-long amnesty, residents who hand in their keys so that their property can be offered to someone who really needs it will not face prosecution or legal action of any kind.
If any Golding Homes resident would like to hand in their keys then can do so by dropping them into our Head Office at County Gate One Office, Maidstone ME14 1ST.
There are several ways in which tenants can defraud their local authority or housing association landlord, and the penalties can be severe, with a jail term of up to two years and fines of up to £50,000 possible. The most basic form of fraud is lying about their circumstances in order to rent a home they wouldn't otherwise be entitled to.
It is also against the law for a resident to make a profit from subletting a spare room in the house without asking the landlord's permission or to move out completely and charge another family or families rent on the home that is registered to them. There are also cases where the resident dies and a relative falsely claims to have been living in the house for a number of years, sometimes claiming they were looking after the former owner, in order to be given the tenancy. However it is done, tenancy fraud is a very serious issue. It restricts the amount of housing available for those with a genuine need and it is a drain on the public purse because the authorities have to provide people still on the list with temporary accommodation.
The month-long key amnesty is a chance to avoid the consequences of being caught, which can be severe, by coming forward voluntarily during the amnesty.
Anyone who believes they might be living in a home that is being sub-let illegally is also urged to get in contact with us. They will be given as much advice and support as possible.