Council Houses: Cheats and Victims

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Duration: 59 minutes

With nearly five million people on a waiting list for social housing that most of them will not receive, Panorama reveals the compelling stories of families who struggle to get by in overcrowded or hazardous homes, or who have no option but to rent properties they simply cannot afford. Reporter Richard Bilton goes undercover to confront the cheats who make money unlawfully from badly-needed council flats or offer cash rewards for tenancies.

  • Crowded house: Family of nine in three-bed house

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    Panorama reporter Richard Bilton travelled to Sheffield to investigate the reality of the council house wait list in England.
    He spent the night with the Gurnhill family, where nine people share a three-bedroom house. The family said they had been trying to find new accommodation but the shortage of homes large enough for them all had left them stuck.
    Sheffield council has since reassessed the Gurnhills and given the three adult children priority status to get their own council flat.

  • Council house conman confronted by Panorama

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    Panorama reporter Richard Bilton confronted a conman who was advertising to unlawfully buy council tenancies in London.
    Their meeting followed an investigation in which an undercover Panorama reporter was offered cash by the man in exchange for a council tenancy.
    The proposed scam involved the undercover reporter pretending to be in a fake relationship with a female associate of the conman so that the tenancy would eventually pass to her.
    Along with unlawful subletting by council tenants who privately rent out their properties, this type of cheating the system is removing an estimated 50,000 council homes from the system in England alone at a time of severe shortages.

  • Tracking down England's council house sublet cheats

    Tracking down England's council house sublet cheats

    With nearly five million people in England on a social housing waiting list, Richard Bilton visits one very crowded council house in Sheffield and meets a team in London who investigate suspected council house cheats.

    Read about Panorama's investigation
  • Met Police officer unlawfully subletting council flat

    Met Police officer unlawfully subletting council flat

    A serving Metropolitan police officer has been unlawfully subletting his council flat, according to a BBC Panorama investigation

    Read more on the investigation
  • Council Houses - Cheats and Victims: Join in the debate

    Council Houses - Cheats and Victims: Join in the debate

    Read other viewers comments or leave your own on the Panorama forum
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Credits

Presenter
Richard Bilton

Broadcasts

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