East Devon District Council

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Policy Tenancy Anti-Fraud Policy

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8. Appendix A - Legislation

The Housing Act 1985

Part IV, section 81 of the Housing Act 1985, states that the tenant must occupy the dwelling as his only or principal home.

The act gives secure tenants the right to sublet part of their home and the right to take in lodgers both require the landlord’s written consent and this would not be regarded as tenancy fraud.

The Housing Act 1996

The Housing Act 1996 sets out two separate offences of social housing fraud. It is an offence to knowingly or recklessly make a statement which is false or to knowingly withhold information when applying to join the local authority waiting list or when applying as a homeless person.  A strict time limit of six months applies and a prosecution cannot be pursued once the time limit has expired.  Offences under this act are punishable by a fine of up to level 5 (the current maximum penalty is £5,000).

The Fraud Act 2006

Section 2 of the act covers fraud by false representation, for an offence to have been committed the false representation needs to be dishonest and there must be intent to either create a gain or loss for that person or another person. Section 3 covers fraud by failing to disclose information, again there also has to be dishonesty and intent to create a gain or loss.

Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013

The act creates two new criminal offences in relation to secure tenants. An offence is committed where a secure tenant knowingly sublets or parts with possession of the whole or part of their dwelling in breach of an express or implied term of their tenancy agreement. A criminal offence is also committed where a tenant acts dishonestly in the circumstances described above. The act gives local authorities the power to prosecute these offences. The act additionally provides for courts to make orders for the recovery from defendants of   profits made from unlawful sub-letting either following conviction or in separate civil proceedings.