The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013
This Act, which came into force on 15th October 2013 and currently applies in England and Wales only, makes it a criminal offence for tenants to sublet or part with possession of, their socially rented home.
The Act introduces a new procedure for the court to award payment to the social housing provider in the form of an ‘unlawful profit order’. The award can be made by either the civil or criminal court and would be valid along side any other sanctions, including a fine, imprisonment or eviction. The order can be made for any profit gained by the tenant from subletting the property, to be paid to the social housing provider.
Security of tenure
The Act makes an amendment to the Housing Act 1988 to bring parity between assured and secure tenants, in terms of security of tenure. If a tenant parts with possession of their property, or sublets the whole of the property, they will lose their ‘assured’ status and security of tenure. This cannot be regained by returning to the property. This measure will make it easier for social housing providers to recover the properties as the tenancy can be ended using a Notice to Quit.
The Act makes provisions for the Secretary of State to create further regulations around powers to access data when investigating social housing fraud.