Interesting and instructive article on subletting of Social Housing property from Letting Agent Today online magazine:
A tenant has been ordered to pay almost £11,000 after trying to private let a housing association property on which he already owed £3,000 in unpaid rent.
Edward Crawdon advertised the two bedroom house in Watford, collecting several deposits from victims before the housing association - the Watford Community Housing Trust - spotted that the property being privately let was in fact in its own stock.
Crawdon already owed WCHT over £3,000 in rent arrears, prompting the trust to become what is thought to be the first body to take action under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013. This act makes tenancy fraud of this kind a criminal rather than a civil offence.
A court has now ordered Cawdron to give up possession of the property and pay WCHT £10,700, including damages of £4,700 – the total he collected from victims who believed they were placing deposits to rent the property.
A statement from Tina Barnard, WCHT's chief executive, says the use of the new law sends out “a powerful message that we are tracking down tenancy cheats.”