Eviction specialist Paul Shamplina has described proposals to make sub-letting of council houses a criminal offence a positive action.
Eviction Firm Supports Clampdown on Illegal Landlords
Shamplina, of Landlord Action, says he has often been called by landlord to evict tenants, only to find out that the real issue is the landlord.
“This is an extremely positive step in combating long term abuse of the social housing system,” he says. “There have been a growing number of tenants acting as landlords by sub-letting their council properties for their own financial gain, and this is to the detriment of thousands of other vulnerable people.”
He adds: “In the past, we have experienced landlords seeking out assistance to evict their tenant, only to find out that the property is not in fact theirs, and the tenant is not actually aware the property is being illegally sub-let.
“Hopefully, imprisonment of up to two years as well as a hefty fine will act as a deterrent.”1
Some estimations suggest that anywhere between 50,000 to 160,000 social houses are being illegally occupied across the country.
Housing minister Grant Shapps’ proposals include a criminal offence with a maximum of two years’ imprisonment and a find of up to £50,000 if the case is to go to the Crown Court. Profits of tenancy fraud will also be reimbursed to the rightful landlord.
Also, local councils would be given more power to investigate these cases, through greater access to data from banks and utility companies.
Currently, councils can request data, however organisations can refuse to provide it. The proposed modifications would oblige them to obey.