Illegal landlords handover keys to Barnet Council homes during month-long amnesty

Times Series: Barnet Homes chief executive Tracey Lees (left) at a recent building project. Barnet Council says it would cost £2.1million to build the 14 homes that were recovered Barnet Homes chief executive Tracey Lees (left) at a recent building project. Barnet Council says it would cost £2.1million to build the 14 homes that were recovered

Illegal landlords have handed over the keys to 14 social housing properties that were being fraudulently sub-let in Barnet.

The tenants, who were renting out rooms without authorisation, came forward after Barnet Council offered a month-long amnesty to anyone illegally sub-letting their home before a change in the law is introduced.

People were able to hand over the keys to the properties without punishment before maximum penalties of two years in prison, a criminal record, or a fine of up to £5,000 are introduced.

A total of 14 people came forward in October to hand over the keys to their properties, 12 of which are owned by council-house provider Barnet Homes, while the two others belonged to Home Group and Tally Ho Co-op.

Barnet Council says that by reclaiming the properties, it has saved taxpayers money on housing families in temporary accommodation and building new social housing.

It costs on average £18,000 to house a family in temporary accommodation, while it would cost around of £2.1million to build 14 new homes.

Councillor Tom Davey, cabinet member for housing, described the amnesty handover as “an amazing result”.

The council says it is hoping to recover more properties as a result of information received during the campaign.

Tracey Lees, chief executive of Barnet Homes, said: “We are delighted by the spectacular success of the key amnesty campaign and look forward to welcoming 14 deserving families to their new homes.”

To report someone who may be sub-letting their home illegally, email tenancyfraud@barnet.gov.uk, visit www.barnet.gov.uk or call the fraud hotline on 020 8359 2007.

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