Social Housing Fraud13/03/14
The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013
The Act, which came into force on 15 October 2013, created criminal offences of unlawful subletting by secure and assured tenants. It gives local authorities wider powers to prosecute those guilty of social housing fraud. It also provides that assured tenants of social landlords, who unlawfully sublet or part with possession of their social housing, lose security of tenure permanently.
The Act introduces “Unlawful Profit Orders” (UPOs) which can be used by local authorities to require defendants to pay the profits of their unlawful subletting to the landlord.
There are civil, and criminal, remedies available to you under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013.
How are the new offences being investigated so far?
The focus appears to be on civil proceedings rather than criminal the non-criminal sanctions are seen as generally adequate and effective, with the UPOs in the civil courts being the most common.
It is envisaged that the criminal offences will be used by local authorities and others to prosecute the more serious cases of illegal subletting, which justifies the extra costs and high standard of proof, but the real benefit of the sector specific legislation will be seen in the Civil Court.