Newham Council's success in recovering illegally occupied council properties

24 December 2013 in Housing
Newham Council has successfully recovered 71 properties which were either illegally occupied or were unoccupied. These properties have now been made available for residents on the council's housing waiting list.
In November alone, the council took possession of 11 council properties. Two were recovered through court orders and nine were recovered through proactive casework by council officers. Since April 2013, 71 council properties have been recovered.

Cllr Andrew Baikie, executive member for housing and customer service, said: “Tenancy fraud such as this costs the council thousands of pounds and deprives residents who may have been on the housing list for years of a home. We have a shortage of high quality homes available and thousands of people waiting for a council property so it is imperative that our housing stock is distributed fairly. We know that the majority of our tenants live in their properties legally but it is important that we tackle those who are committing fraud.”

Ward details of the latest seizures in Newham are:
  • Boleyn Ward: one flat recovered at Barking Road. A Notice to Quit was served with follow up checks confirming the tenant had left the country and his mother was no longer in residence. The flat was repossessed as abandoned.     
  • Canning Town South Ward: one property recovered at Adamson Road. The tenant of this property died and a family member claimed a right to succeed. Checks showed the claimant had not lived at the property for at least a year before the tenant died.
  • Custom House Ward: one property each in Berwick Road, Hands Walk and McGregor Road. In Berwick Road, a rents officer visited the property to discuss escalating rent arrears. The tenant's daughter admitted the tenant had died six months earlier. The daughter had no rights to occupy.
  • East Ham Central Ward: one property recovered at Market Street. Checks confirmed the property was empty and the tenant appeared to have left the country.
  • East Ham South Ward: one property recovered at Mountfield Road. Evidence came to light to show the tenant had two tenancies, one in Leeds and one in Newham. When interviewed, the tenant confirmed she was living at the Leeds property.
  • Manor Park Ward: one property recovered at Manor Park Road. The tenant of this property vacated the address, leaving an unauthorised occupant in residence. A possession order was obtained.
  • Plaistow North Ward: one property recovered at Upper Road. Housing Compliance was notified that the tenant was claiming benefits from another address. A notice to quit was served and the property repossessed as abandoned.
  • Royal Docks Ward: one property recovered at Westland House. A possession order was obtained against this tenant for rent arrears. Police discovered cannabis was being cultivated at the address.
If you wish to end your tenancy, please call 020 3373 9370 for advice on how to do this. Residents who are aware of anyone committing these offences, or have any information about someone not living at their council home, can call the council’s Tenancy Audit Team on 020 3373 3258 or 020 3373 3261 in confidence and action will be taken.