Families have been found new homes as a result of a campaign to free properties that were being illegally sublet in Barnet.

A key amnesty campaign launched by Barnet Council’s corporate anti-fraud team in conjunction with Barnet Homes’ tenancy fraud team led to 16 sets of keys being handed in, freeing up homes for residents in genuine need of a roof over their heads.

The first set of residents moved into their new home in time to bring in the New Year.

Mother Nabiye Uzun, said she was very happy to be able to get a ground floor property which is also near to her teenage son’s school.

She said: “I am very happy with the move as I have a medical condition and lost my job as a result. My previous property had stairs, which made getting about at home very difficult for me.

“I love the Friern Barnet area and my son is still near his school, so getting this property has worked out really well for me.”

Another couple living in a three-bedroom property in Dollis Valley wanted a smaller, cheaper home as they were affected by the under occupancy charge, introduced by the Government’s Welfare Reform Bill in 2013.

They were able to downsize to a one-bedroom flat in East Barnet in time for the New Year.

Councillor Tom Davey, cabinet member for housing said: “This is an amazing result and highlights the importance of effective management of housing stock in London.

“This scheme has effectively generated the equivalent of just over £2million in capital and saved the taxpayer around £250,000 a year in temporary accommodation costs. I am very pleased that families in need will now receive keys to their new homes.”