Calls for minister to tackle tenancy fraud after Spotlight probe

Stewart Dickson MLA
Stewart Dickson MLA

The Alliance Party and Northern Ireland Conservatives last night said the Social Development Minister must tackle the issue of tenancy fraud.

Speaking ahead of a BBC Spotlight programme which he said would reveal grave problems, Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson said: “It is baffling that not a single case of tenancy fraud has ever been reported in Northern Ireland.

“In England and Wales, it is the single biggest area of council fraud, costing £1.8billion. So why does it not officially exist in Northern Ireland?”

The Auditor General stated last year that tenancy fraud is a major problem that is not being addressed, he added.

NI Conservatives’ spokesman Mark Brotherston said last night that housing fraud is “an attack on people who haven’t got homes”.

He added: “We’ve been saying that there must be welfare reform in Northern Ireland and one of the main reasons is to get to grips with abuses of the system.

“The BBC Spotlight programme has exposed that there are huge problems with illegal sublets and so-called ‘dole drop’ properties which are used to claim extra benefits.”

There are 10,000 families waiting for a house, he added.