A TENANT had a council home taken from them after a fraud team found they falsely claimed to be homeless and living with a child.

The Brightlingsea resident and his teenage child was placed into a bed and breakfast as temporary accommodation by Tendring Council until a home was found for them.

But checks revealed the tenant did not, in fact, have his child living with him and would not have been entitled to the home.

The authority attempted to take back possession of the property on the grounds it had been claimed using knowingly false information.

Following a contested hearing, a County Court judge awarded possession of the property back to the council.

The property was one of 25 council homes which were taken back last year from people who had falsely claimed an entitlement to one.

The properties were instead given to families on the waiting list who needed a home.

The authority is again undertaking a tenancy audit on its properties to make sure those who live in the council homes are entitled to them.

The checks, which are being carried out by the dedicated fraud team, review whether any properties had been abandoned or sublet, or claimed under a false entitlement..

Paul Honeywood, Tendring Council’s cabinet member for housing, said the ongoing review was important to protect both taxpayers and council tenants.

"We have thousands of council tenants, the vast majority of whom are model residents and are legitimately housed by us,” he said.

“Sadly there is a small minority who try to abuse the system for their own ends.

“This leads to families who may desperately need a home going without one, and costing Tendring Council – and taxpayers – to put them up in temporary accommodation.

“If you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to fear, but if you are acting illegally then we will find out and we will take action against you, as we will not tolerate fraud.”

If you believe someone is committing tenancy fraud, you can contact the council’s fraud helpline at fraud.hotline@tendringdc.gov.uk or call 0800 169 7004.