Council tenants illegally subletting their homes are being given the chance to hand back the keys without prosecution.
Oxford City Council is giving the fraudsters two months to come clean before they face prosecution.
The anti-subletting amnesty runs from today until the end of October and is backed by housing associations Green Square Group, Catalyst Housing and Jephson Housing Association Group.
The council said tenants who give back keys will not be prosecuted under the new Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013.
Illegal subletting of social housing became a criminal offence last year and can carry up to a two-year prison sentence and a fine of up to £50,000.
Previously, tenants caught subletting were only required to return the keys.
Oxford City Council said illegal subletting is hitting taxpayers as the authority often has to put people in temporary homes because of a lack of properties.
Executive board member for housing and estate regeneration Scott Seamons, said: “I am pleased that housing association partners are joining us in this campaign as tenancy fraud steals a property from a family who are homeless or in urgent need of an affordable home.
“We want residents to come forward and report any suspected illegal subletting.”
In the last three years the council’s housing investigation team has received back 50 properties from people who were subletting their homes.
More than 54 allegations of sub-letting are also being investigated and, since November 2011, 282 cases have been opened.
Contact the fraud team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01865 252025.
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11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
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