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Tenancy Cuckooing - keeping safe

Blackpool Coastal Housing

What is cuckooing?

Tenancy cuckooing is when people take over, or cuckoo, a property. Perpetrators often pose as carers to ‘get their foot in the door’ or take advantage of other support needs such as offering to pay for food or utilities. They may also offer to help keep you safe by staying in the property to be on hand while they practice activities that may present risk or start offering discounted or free substances if they can stay over, use and deal illegal substances. You may feel this is fine and manageable until you want the perpetrator to leave, at which point they may become aggressive and force you out of your home.

What can you do to help reduce the chances of cuckooing before it happens?

Know your needs and vulnerabilities, such as:

  • loneliness
  • not coping with emotions
  • pattern of difficult or abusive relationships
  • dependency on substances
  • financial difficulties

Find different ways to get needs met through services and positive relationships:

  • build up social support in local community
  • get mental health or relationship advice and support
  • get support for substance use (e.g. script, detox)
  • get support from police or local police to protect you/your property

Use assertiveness and boundaries to protect your property:

  • don’t tell people your address
  • never give your keys to anyone
  • don’t let people you can’t trust in your flat
  • practice saying ‘no’ in an assertive way

What can you do if it's already happening to you?

  1. Recognise that they are taking advantage of you and this could end up very badly for you if you don’t do something- you could lose your flat to them or end up getting hurt or going to prison if there’s drugs involved.
  2. ‘Break the cycle’ - you can say that you are going to move out and go away for a while so that they have to find somewhere else
  3. Use assertiveness and boundaries to protect you and your property - block numbers and blank the people if you see them in the street - do not engage with them.
  4. Think ahead to times when you are more likely to feel vulnerable
    - What are your triggers that make you feel more vulnerable?
    - What you can do when you are feeling more vulnerable?
  5. Tell them that professionals or police are watching the address (even if not true)
  6. People who have been through this all advise to get support as soon as you can. It isn’t grassing, it’s about keeping you and your property safe from people who are exploiting you. Professionals you trust will not blame you and can support you to do this in the best way and reduce the risk to yourself and others.
Early action against cuckooing is key. We can take safe and confidential measures to support you – please don’t suffer alone. If you need help or support, please contact BCH’s ASB Team on 01253 477900 and select option 3.
Blackpool Coastal Housing
Blackpool Coastal Housing