Page last updated at 14:48 GMT, Thursday, 29 November 2012

Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Bill

Peers debated the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Bill at second reading on 30 November 2012.

The private member's bill is designed to make illegal subletting of social housing a criminal offence, create effective deterrents and allow for proceeds of subletting to be reimbursed to social landlords, against whom the fraud was committed, rather than the state.

Jail terms of up to two years could be imposed on social housing tenants who sublet their properties for profit.

Estimates suggest that between 50,000 and 160,000 social homes are unlawfully occupied across the country.

Tenancy cheats can earn thousands of pounds a year renting their social homes out to private tenants. Anyone caught at present faces losing their tenancy.

The bill - which has broad cross-party support - was introduced into the House of Commons by Conservative MP Richard Harrington and passed all stages in the lower house.

Its passage through the House of Lords is being steered by the Conservative peer Baroness Eaton, a former chair of the Local Government Association.

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