Tuesday, 30 September 2014

MPs pass social housing fraud bill

MPs have passed a bill outlawing the illegal sub-letting of social housing properties.

The private member’s bill, proposed by Conservative MP Richard Harrington, received cross-party support during its third reading in the House of Commons.

Although, during the third reading of the bill last week, Labour MP Chris Williamson urged the government to go further in tackling the undersupply of housing.

‘It is worth saying that although the bill is a useful tool, as we are having to wrestle with a massive housing crisis, it will go only part of the way in dealing with the housing need in this country,’ said Mr Williamson.

The MP for Derby North backed government initiatives to bring more empty homes into use to help ease the pressure on council waiting lists.

The Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Bill will mean tenants that illegally sub-let their properties could face up to two years’ imprisonment as well as a possibly unlimited fine. At present sub-letting is a civil offence, meaning it cannot attract a custodial sentence on its own.

Planning minister Nick Boles said: ‘The mission of this government is to support the aspirations of hard-working people. The aspiration to have a home of one’s own is one that all people share, so affordable homes are one of the most precious assets we have.’

The bill will now be read by the House of Lords before passing into law.

Readers' comments (16)

  • falesia

    This'll be implemented by MPs who routinely claim one or two thousand pounds a month in mortgage interest from the taxpayer then? Yet a family living in poverty tries to make an extra 50 quid a week and that's illegal.

    I'm not proposing making subletting social housing legal necessarily (although I don't see why council and HA tenants should be deprived of the same entrepreneurship available to private landlords) but we need to look at why people are doing this in the first place. If proper rent controls were in place, and we built more council houses perhaps there'd be less of a problem.

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  • falesia

    The bill's sponsor, Richard Harrington (Con, Watford) claimed £8872 expenses in the first two months of 2011.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/datablog/2011/jun/02/mps-expenses-performance-voting-activity

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  • It's about time firm action was taken. Why should those who clearly do not need social housing be able to line their own pockets, whilst denying those who may need accommodation?

    falesia - two wrong's don't make a right, and there was nothing illegal about Richard Harrington's claims.

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  • raindrop

    Not many of Housing Association taking action.

    Again I do not want one rules for Resident's and another from them MP's and Councillor's its all taxpayers money

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  • Chris

    The real social housing frauds have been:
    The Right to Buy
    The New Labour Housing Policy
    The Old Tory and New Tory Housing Policies
    And the insistance that 'housing benefit can take the strain'.

    The Bill will be that we are paying in the £billions for generations as a result.

    I do hope the House remembers to flush when it finishes passing its Bills!

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  • Rick Campbell

    ^^ like ^^

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  • Can anyone caught do a Moran and claim mental illness and unable to stand trial as they spend all day spent her days "walking the dog, doing some cooking and watching TV", ???

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  • falesia

    That's the problem raindrop. Do you have a job where you can claim all your mortgage interest, travel expenses and house repairs legally? No, neither do I.

    Where are the people who rent from social housing going to go as a result of this?

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  • I love the justifications of people doing things morally (and now legally) wrong "becasue others do it even more!".

    Sub-letting takes properties away from those in need and it shouldn't, simple as. Actions should be taken against MP's side earnings etc, but that doesn't mean people should be given free reign to do what they like until then.

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  • Correct Narra-2 wrongs don't make a right- however subletting was allways a breach of tenancy and never a secret ( who wouldn't notice when new folk moved in next door?) - many landlords were informed but chose to do nought (maybe because the rent was getting paid on time)- my slightly sarcastic point refers to the gross hypocrisy of the fraudsters in politics and banking world getting off scott free-and having the gall to point the finger elsewhere ( but only at the small fry).

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