Housing Minister Phil Heatly said that since last July 166 state-house tenancies were terminated because tenants had dishonestly obtained the house or subsidised rent.
The 166 tenancies terminated included situations where tenants failed to advise Housing New Zealand about income from employment, business interests, assets, or that they lived with a partner.
“Over the past two years Housing New Zealand has built a highly effective team of expert investigators. This team has identified $6.3m in debt where tenants have received subsidised rent that they were not entitled to,” says Mr Heatley.
More than 130 cases of tenant related fraud have been placed before the courts – a ten-fold increase from two years ago.
Among the cases investigators found were:
- An Auckland man used his state house as a storage facility for commercial goods for his online business, while living in another property which he rented privately under an alias. The Corporation property he rented had five bedrooms – four of which he sublet for $165 a week each. He did not declare rental income or the profits from his business. His tenancy was terminated, criminal charges have been laid, and $18,270 in debt was identified for recovery.
- An Auckland man failed to declare that he was running a motor vehicle repair business, was buying and selling cars and leased large commercial premises. He also owned three rental properties which were under a company name, and was living with a partner. His tenancy was terminated and he was prosecuted for fraud. He was sentenced to five months home detention and 100 hours community work. A debt of $68,410 was identified for recovery.
- An Auckland woman, who lived in a state house for six years, deliberately disguised her position as director of a limousine company by using numerous false identities. She owned six taxis when she applied for a state house, and bought another six during her tenancy. She bought and sold a number of vehicles during the six years. She did not declare she had a partner – but married three times prior to and during her tenancy. She also purchased two houses during her tenancy, both of which she rented out. Her tenancy was terminated, and a debt of $63,319 was identified for recovery. She was prosecuted for fraud, and paid $50,000 at the time of sentencing in reparation to avoid prison.
How do these people sleep at night ripping off the public who pays for these and taking accommodation which other people desperately need?