Council tenants who rent out their home and live elsewhere will face much harder punishment now a new housing fraud act has been put in place.
The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act came into force on October 15, and makes it a criminal offence for council tenants to unlawfully sublet their home and also gives councils wider powers of prosecution.
Anyone who is found guilty of committing tenancy fraud will face a fine and custodial sentence of up to two years.
Leeds City Council has a dedicated team working to reduce tenancy fraud throughout the city and since 2009, has taken back 97 properties and re let them to people in need of a council home. The council has identified unlawful subletting in previous cases through conducting annual tenancy audits, participating in the Audit Commission’s National Fraud Initiative and working closely with local housing associations.
Coun Peter Gruen, said: “When a council tenant lets their home to somebody else, they are making a profit unfairly, and depriving people on the housing waiting list of their chance of a council home.”
If you suspect illegal subletting is taking place in your area, you can report it by calling one of the fraud reporting hotlines, call Aire Valley on 0113 3781410
All information will be treated in confidence.