The Housing Executive has urged people to report on any social housing properties they suspect are not being lived in despite being let.
The Executive issued the call this week after announcing it has regained ten properties in the Waterside for reletting over a period of three months. The properties had been left vacant by tenants in various estates.
Last year the Housing Executive regained 31 vacant properties throughout the city for reletting.
The Housing Executive attributes this success to the support it has received in recent months from neighbours and community representatives who informed the District Office that no-one appeared to be living in the properties.
In addition the Housing Executive’s Neighbourhood Officers identify empty properties while carrying out estate duties.
Speaking about the ten homes, Avril McAllister, District Manager in the Waterside, said: “In most cases the curtains were pulled, making it hard to see if anyone was at home. As soon as we have evidence that a property is not being lived in we serve an Abandonment Notice which gives the tenant four weeks to contact us to confirm that they are still living there.
“We do some other checks in the meantime and after four weeks we can take the property back into stock for reletting.
“We have a growing demand for housing and it is disappointing that some people are abusing social housing in this way and are also committing benefit fraud. I am pleased that these ten homes have been let to people in housing stress who genuinely need a home.
“I would encourage everyone to be vigilant and if they suspect a Housing Executive property is not being lived in to contact the District Office.
“Sometimes there are genuine reasons for houses being empty but we can check this out with the tenants and take action if necessary.”