Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013



Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013

2013 CHAPTER 3

An Act to create offences and make other provision relating to sub-letting and parting with possession of social housing; to make provision about the investigation of social housing fraud; and for connected purposes.

[31st January 2013]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-

S-1 Unlawful sub-letting: secure tenancies

1 Unlawful sub-letting: secure tenancies

(1) A tenant of a dwelling-house let under a secure tenancy commits an offence if-

(a) in breach of an express or implied term of the tenancy, the tenant sub-lets or parts with possession of-

(i) the whole of the dwelling-house, or

(ii) part of the dwelling-house without the landlord's written consent,

(b) the tenant ceases to occupy the dwelling-house as the tenant's only or principal home, and

(c) the tenant knows that the conduct described in paragraph (a) is a breach of a term of the tenancy.

(2) A tenant of a dwelling-house let under a secure tenancy commits an offence if-

(a) dishonestly and in breach of an express or implied term of the tenancy, the tenant sub-lets or parts with possession of-

(i) the whole of the dwelling-house, or

(ii) part of the dwelling-house without the landlord's written consent, and

(b) the tenant ceases to occupy the dwelling-house as the tenant's only or principal home.

(3) The offence under subsection (1) is not committed where the tenant takes the action described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of that subsection because of violence or threats of violence by a person residing in, or in the locality of, the dwelling-house-

(a) towards the tenant, or

(b) towards a member of the family of the tenant who was residing with the tenant immediately before the tenant ceased to occupy the dwelling-house.

(4) The offence under subsection (1) is not committed if a person ("P") who occupies the dwelling-house as a result of the conduct described in subsection (1)(a) is-

(a) a person entitled to apply to the court for an order giving P a right to occupy the dwelling-house or to have the tenancy transferred to P, or

(b) a person in respect of whom an application may be made to have the tenancy transferred to P or to another person to be held for P's benefit.

(5) A person convicted of an offence under subsection (1) is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

(6) A person convicted of an offence under subsection (2) is liable-

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or both);

(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or a fine (or both).

S-2 Unlawful sub-letting: assured tenancies

2 Unlawful sub-letting: assured tenancies

(1) A tenant of a dwelling-house let under an assured tenancy to which this section applies commits an offence if-

(a) in breach of an express or implied term of the tenancy, the tenant sub-lets or parts with possession of the whole or part of the dwelling-house,

(b) the tenant ceases to occupy the dwelling-house as the tenant's only or principal home, and

(c) the tenant knows that the conduct described i n paragraph (a) is a breach of a term of the tenancy.

(2) A tenant of a dwelling-house let under an assured tenancy to which this section applies commits an offence if-

(a) dishonestly and in breach of an express or implied term of the tenancy, the tenant sub-lets or parts with possession of the whole or part of the dwelling-house, and

(b) the tenant ceases to occupy the dwelling-house as the tenant's only or principal home.

(3) This section applies to an assured tenancy-

(a) under which the landlord is a private registered provider of social housing or a registered social landlord, and

(b) which is not a shared ownership lease.

(4) The offence under subsection (1) is not committed where the tenant takes the action described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of that subsection because of violence or threats of violence by a person residing in, or in the locality of, the dwelling-house-

(a) towards the tenant, or

(b) towards a member of the family of the tenant who was residing with the tenant immediately before the tenant ceased to occupy the dwelling-house.

(5) The offence under subsection (1) is not committed if a person ("P") who occupies the dwelling-house as a result of the conduct described in subsection (1)(a) is-

(a) a person entitled to apply to the court for an order giving P a right to occupy the dwelling-house or to have the tenancy transferred to P, or

(b) a person in respect of whom an application may be made to have the tenancy transferred to P or to another person to be held for P's benefit.

(6) A person convicted of an offence under subsection (1) is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

(7) A person convicted of an offence under subsection (2) is liable-

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or both);

(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or a fine (or both).

S-3 Prosecution of offences

3 Prosecution of offences

(1) Proceedings for an offence under section 1(1) or 2(1) may be brought within the period of 6 months beginning with the date on which evidence sufficient in the opinion of the prosecutor to warrant the proceedings came to the prosecutor's knowledge.

(2) But no such proceedings may be brought more than three years-

(a) after the commission of the offence, or

(b) in the case of continuous contravention, after the last date on which the offence was committed.

(3) A certificate signed by the prosecutor and stating the date on which such evidence came to the prosecutor's knowledge is conclusive evidence of that fact; and a certificate to that effect and purporting to be so signed is to be treated as being so signed unless the contrary is proved.

(4) Subsections (1) to (3) also apply in relation to an associated offence which is a summary offence (to the extent that they would not otherwise apply to that offence).

(5) A local authority may prosecute an offence under section 1 or 2 in relation to a dwelling-house-

(a) whether or not the dwelling-house is or was let under a tenancy under which the local authority is or was the landlord, and

(b) whether or not the dwelling-house is located in the local authority's area.

(6) Subsection (5) also applies in relation to an associated offence (to the extent that it would not otherwise apply to that offence).

S-4 Unlawful profit orders: criminal proceedings

4 Unlawful profit orders: criminal proceedings

(1) This section applies if a person ("the offender") is convicted of-

(a) an offence under section 1 or 2, or

(b) an associated offence in relation to an offence under section 1 or 2.

(2) The court by or before which the offender is convicted-

(a) must, on application or otherwise, decide whether to make an unlawful profit order, and

(b) may, if it considers it appropriate to do so, make such an order, instead of or in addition to dealing with the offender in any other way.

(3) An "unlawful profit order" is an order requiring the offender to pay the landlord an amount representing the profit made by the offender as a result of the conduct constituting the offence.

(4) If the court decides not to make an unlawful profit order, it must give reasons for that decision on passing sentence on the offender.

(5) The amount payable under an unlawful profit order must be such amount as the court considers appropriate, having regard to any evidence and to any representations that are made by or on behalf of the offender or the prosecutor, but subject to subsections (6) and (7).

(6) The maximum amount payable under an unlawful profit order is calculated as follows-

Step 1 Determine the total amount the offender received as a result of the conduct constituting the offence (or the best estimate of that amount).

Step 2 Deduct from the amount determined under step 1 the total amount, if any, paid by the offender as rent to the landlord (including service charges) over the period during which the offence was committed.

(7) Where an unlawful profit order has been made against the offender under section 5, an order under this section may only provide for the landlord to recover an amount equal to the aggregate of the following-

(a) any amount by which the amount of the offender's profit found under this section exceeds the amount payable under the order made under section 5, and

(b) a sum equal to any portion of the amount payable under the order made under section 5 that the landlord fails to recover,

and the landlord may not enforce the order under this section, so far as it re lates to a sum mentioned in paragraph (b), without the leave of the court.

(8) Subsection (9) applies where the court considers-

(a) that, as well as being appropriate to make an unlawful profit order, it would be appropriate to impose a fine, and

(b) that the offender has insufficient means to pay both-

(i) an appropriate sum under an unlawful profit order, and

(ii) an appropriate sum under a fine.

(9) The court must give preference to making an unlawful profit order (though it may impose a fine as well).

(10) If the amount required to be paid by a person under an unlawful...

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