Families rehoused thanks to key amnesty

Three families have been rehoused as a result of Ashford Borough Council’s key amnesty.

The amnesty was held throughout June, and led to ten sets of keys to council properties being returned to the council. Three of these properties have now been re-let to families who were on the council’s housing register.

A property in Chester Avenue is now lived in by a family of four who had outgrown their two-bedroom property. The council’s investigations team received information to suggest that it was empty and always in darkness. After an investigation with several visits at various times, the tenant was never at the property. The team found out that he was living with his girlfriend in Hythe.

He was eventually spoken to by the Housing team and he handed his keys back. Mr and Mrs J and their two teenage children were able to move in. They had been waiting for a bigger property since 2016, meaning their children no longer have to share a bedroom.

In the second case, an investigation showed that the tenant had not moved out of his old property and he returned the keys. This meant that Mr M, who joined the housing list in 2017, looking for a smaller property, has been able to move in. His former home has been re-let to a single mum who is a care leaver who fled domestic violence and was living in a single room with her baby.

A homeless man who joined the Choice Based Letting list in late 2016 is now living in Heron House after an investigation showed the named tenant was living elsewhere. When he was visited, he handed the keys back to the council.

Debbie Dansey, Investigations and Enforcement Support Officer, said: “We were pleased that so many keys were returned as part of this amnesty. The Investigations team worked hard to follow up on the information we were given during this period and it is fantastic to see that families now have homes.”

Sharon Williams, Head of Housing, said: “We are delighted to have been able to help these three households through the key amnesty. They had all been on the waiting list for a long time and it is great to see that they are now comfortable and housed. Housing fraud restricts the amount of housing available to those genuinely in need and results in bigger costs for the council because the homeless often needs to be housed in emergency accommodation.”

Anyone who wishes to report what they believe may be fraudulent behaviour, or who believes they might be living in a home that is being sub-let illegally, should call 0800 0213 262 or email the team.



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