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Unlawful occupation of our homes

Unlawful occupation or tenancy fraud: what is it?

Unlawful occupation is a criminal offence and, if identified, will result in legal action to bring the tenancy to an end. There are many types, including but not limited to:

  • Someone gives false or misleading information or documents when applying for a home. This might be giving false names and/or national insurance numbers, using forged documents or lying about their need for housing.

  • A tenant illegally sublets all or part of their home – this is different to taking in a lodger.

  • A tenant doesn’t live in our home as their only, or main, home.

  • Somebody takes on the tenancy when the tenant dies - usually this is when another family member lives there instead.

  • A tenant moves out of their home and lets someone else live there.

  • A tenant lies or gives misleading information so that a partner can become a joint tenant.

  • A tenant exchanges their home with someone else without telling us and/or waiting for us to agree an exchange can take place.

  • A tenant lies or gives false information when applying to buy their home.


If you suspect someone of unlawful occupation/tenancy fraud, please call us or use our online form.

We'll treat all reports of unlawful occupation as confidential and investigate all concerns.

Online form


We'll write to, and arrange a home visit, with the tenant who's been reported. If we're not satisfied that the person living there is the registered tenant, we'll continue to investigate the property and tenancy, which may end in an eviction order.


I was unlawfully occupying my home and didn’t know – what now?

If you were unknowingly renting a Sovereign home from one of our tenants, we will do our best to signpost you to the relevant agencies that can support you and help you find new housing.