Recommended NZ | Guide to Money | Gimme: Competitions - Giveaways

Housing NZ Cracks Down On Fraudulent Tenants

Read More:
Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Phil Heatley
Phil Heatley

By Adam Roberts for NZPA

Wellington, Oct 19, NZPA - An expert team of Housing New Zealand investigators spent the last 18 months tracking down fraudulent tenants, terminating 166 cases and a saving of $6.3 million, Housing Minister Phil Heatley says.

Mr Heatley said better investigation of fraud had freed up much-needed state houses for families in desperate need on the waiting list.

"Housing New Zealand will not tolerate people who abuse the state housing system, and will vigorously pursue those who do," Mr Heatley said.

"The overwhelming majority of Housing New Zealand tenants appreciate their home and abide by the rules. However, there are a small minority committed to accessing homes and subsidies under false pretences."

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.

Housing New Zealand had increased its activities over the last two years as a response to high-demand for state housing, Mr Heatley said.

"Currently we have over 4000 people on the waiting list who have been classified as high-priority

"In our view we would rather provide the state houses to people who have genuine need rather than turn a blind eye to it, as happened under the previous government."

Responding to questions in Parliament, Mr Heatley gave two examples of cases which he said the previous government would have allowed.

In one case, 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.

In another case 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 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.

All articles and comments on Voxy.co.nz have been submitted by our community of users. Please notify us if you believe an item on this site breaches our community guidelines.