Page last updated at 14:52 GMT, Thursday, 13 May 2010 15:52 UK

Housing fraud amnesty under way in Basildon

Basildon District Council has begun a two-week amnesty for council tenants who have committed housing fraud.

Those who admit illegally sub-letting a property, leaving it vacant or giving false information in their application before 26 May will not be prosecuted.

However, they will have to repay any rent arrears to St George's Community Housing and vacate the property.

The amnesty comes ahead of a planned crackdown on housing fraud to free-up council properties.

Research conducted in London and other cities found that about 5% of council properties are connected to some type of housing fraud.

Basildon District Council says that if this figure is applied to the local area, as many as 825 council homes in Basildon could be affected.

The council has received £35,000 of extra government funding to help them crack down on the problem, which they are using to pay extra staff.



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