A bill to criminalise the subletting of social housing in England and Wales has completed its latest stage in parliament.
The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Bill was passed by the House of Lords yesterday, and will now go back to the House of Commons before becoming law.
The bill creates a new criminal offence of unlawful subletting, which will mean council tenants can be fined or imprisoned for subletting. At present subletting is a civil offence, although criminal prosecutions have been brought in some cases where there is a related offence.
The bill also allows courts to order profits generated from subletting to be paid to the landlord, and gives authorities the power to demand information is shared with them to help with housing fraud investigations.
Conservative MP Richard Harrington introduced the private members’ bill, which was backed by the government to introduce measures from a consultation on social housing fraud published in January 2012. Labour has also backed the proposals, and the bill passed through its latest stage without debate.
Source: Inside Housing