Only 26 of the government’s 7,200 social housing tenants were found to be abusing the system since 2015, according to Social Solidarity Minister Michael Falzon.

Asked about the levels of abuse in a parliamentary question by MP Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici, the minister said that no statistics were held before 2015.

However, it is not clear what these numbers represent as Parliamentary Secretary Rodercik Galdes had said in 2017 that the government had recovered 89 properties following inspections the previous year.

In September 2017, the secretariat had launched a freephone number – 8007 2294 – on which people could report cases of suspected abuse.

Read: Tell us about social housing abuse, Housing Authority tells the public

There are various forms of abuse, from renting out of a government property to third parties to squatting. There have also been cases where the relatives of the tenant keep the property as a second home after the tenant's death.

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