Margot James, MP for Stourbridge, has given her backing to Richard Harrington MP’s Private Members Bill that will prevent Social Tenancy Fraud and help free up thousands of social housing properties across the country.
Mr Harrington’s ‘Prevention of Social Housing Fraud’ Bill will include measures to make illegal subletting a criminal offence, create effective deterrents and allow for proceeds of subletting to be reimbursed to social landlords against who the fraud was committed, rather than the State.
It is estimated that between 50,000 and 160,000 properties are currently unlawfully occupied, meaning that there are thousands of properties that cannot be used by the many hardworking and vulnerable individuals and families that need social housing most. Based on the national average, therefore, it is estimated that there have been almost 300 cases of tenancy fraud in the Dudley area alone.
Margot James said “I know that many local organisations and residents are concerned about the levels of illegal subletting, and feel that at present there are not strong enough measures in place to stop this problem. I am supporting this bill as it will go a long way in tackling this problem once and for all.
“Most importantly this bill will introduce measures to stop tenancy cheats from earning thousands of pounds a year renting their social homes out to private tenants whilst many people in my constituency have been waiting for years to access these homes. Hopefully the bill will make a real difference to local social landlords and residents alike.”