Council tenant living abroad ordered by court to vacate property

24 September 2021

A former York tenant has been ordered by the court to leave their council property. The ruling was made after City of York Council presented evidence from a joint investigation conducted by the housing department and Veritau’s fraud investigators.

According to the latest estimates by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), in 2019/20 housing fraud cost the public purse £122m. This includes misuse of a council property for example where someone is no longer using it as their ‘main and principal home’.

Tenants who intend to leave their property for more than one month are required to notify their estate manager under the terms of their tenancy agreements.

Fraud officers worked in collaboration with the housing officers to investigate this case, after a routine visit to the property led to concerns that the tenant was not in the country. The investigation found that the tenant had not used their council property as their principal home for several years. Instead they spent the majority of their time in Turkey.

The tenant contested the ending of their tenancy and the matter was heard by York County Court in July 2021.

Deputy District Judge Madeline Nix ruled in favour of the council stating that the tenant’s principal home was abroad and not in York. The court granted a possession order, giving the tenant six weeks to surrender the property back to City of York Council.

Councilor Denise Craghill, executive member for Housing and Safer Neighbourhoods, said: “Social housing must be protected and reserved for those who need it most. This tenant had not been using their council property correctly for a number of years during which time others have been waiting to be housed.

“The possession order means that this property can now go to someone who really needs it. The council cannot tolerate misuse of its properties. We will take action to prevent abuses and recover homes where appropriate.”

If you have concerns about potential misuse of council housing and want to speak to someone, you can call our anonymous fraud hotline on 0800 9179 247 or email [email protected]

To find out more about our investigation service, visit the counter fraud page