The small number of housing fraudsters who flaunt the law in Ballymena have been warned they are in the sights of investigation teams.
The warning comes after a Housing Executive tenant was successfully prosecuted after subletting his property as part of a benefits scam and received a three month suspended jail term.
So far this year, unannounced checks by Housing Executive staff ensured that 192 properties were successfully recovered across Northern Ireland.
A total of 25 properties were in the East area, including seven in Larne, ten in Carrickfergus, six in Magherafelt but only two in Ballymena.
Those homes have now been re-allocated to tenants in real need and who have been on the social housing waiting list. Housing Executive staff actively carry out checks to ensure that genuine tenants live in our properties. These checks are ongoing and can happen at any time during the person’s tenancy, without any warning.
Mairead Myles Davey, Housing Executive Area Manager for the ‘East’ area of which Ballymena is a part, said: “While some homes may appear unoccupied, for example the tenant may be in hospital, there are properties which are not being used or lived in. With over 21,000 on the social housing waiting list in urgent need of accommodation, it is very important we maximise the use of all our housing stock.”
The Area Manager added: “If you suspect someone is a Housing Cheat, call 03448 920 900.