Government backs bill to criminalise subletting

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Posted on: 21/06/2012 10:12 by Andrew Hyatt
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A conservative MP has introduced a private members bill to parliament that would make subletting social housing a criminal offence.

The bill put forward by Watford MP Richard Harrington had its first reading in parliament yesterday, and is due to be published ahead of a second reading on 13 July.

If the bill is passed it would make subletting a criminal rather than civil offence, meaning it can result in a custodial sentence, and also allow the proceeds of subletting to be paid back to the social landlord.

Few private members bills make it onto the statute book, but the government has said it will back Mr Harrington’s proposals.

Housing minister Grant Shapps said: ‘Tenancy cheats profit from renting out homes that were built to help those in greatest need. Due to their actions, thousands of families who could benefit from this vital support system are instead languishing on housing waiting lists.

‘I look forward to working with Mr Harrington to give this bill the best possible chance of being passed into law.’

The Communities and Local Government department issued a consultation on its plans to make subletting a criminal offence in January this year. This closed in April, but the government has not yet said how it intends to take forward its proposals.