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Law gets tough on sub-letting

Published Monday, 07 October 2013

Council offers amnesty until 31 October People who illegally sublet their council home can take advantage of an Enfield Council amnesty which runs until 31 October.

A government announcement of changes in the law which makes illegal subletting a criminal offence is expected soon and any tenant caught subletting after this happens, will be prosecuted by the council and potentially face a jail term.

But before the rules change, Enfield Council is offering tenants who are subletting their properties the amnesty – meaning if they hand back their keys, the council promises not to prosecute them.

Cllr Ahmet Oykener, Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing warned: “In the last three years our investigation unit has successfully tracked down housing frauds and brought back 120 properties for legitimate use.

“We are determined to deal with subletting and I urge anyone who does not need their council home anymore, or who is subletting to think carefully and hand back their keys. We cannot allow people to cheat the system and deprive those in genuine housing need and I warn them that we will use the full force of the law.”

Enfield Council and Enfield Homes are preparing for the new law by doubling the size of the Housing Investigation Unit which investigates cases of illegal subletting. The most serious will be punishable by a prison sentence of up to two years plus a hefty fine.

Courts will also have the power to make an order forcing tenants to repay any profits made by subletting under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Cllr Andrew Stafford, Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Property reinforced the message, saying:  “I welcome this law because it will go some way to preventing people from subletting, especially since we are desperately short of housing in the borough.

“Subletting is a heartless fraud that deprives people in need of a home, while those who do it profiteer. The amnesty lasts for a brief period and no action will be taken.

“However, after 31 October the council will crack down on those who are subletting. This is a clear message: act now if you are subletting or face the consequences after 31 October.”

Tenants who wish to return their keys should contact a member of the Housing Investigations Team on 020 8379 4289 or the Tenancy Management Team by emailing or by calling freephone 0800 40 80 160, or 020 8375 8296.

Enfield Council is also keen to hear from anyone who wants to report a housing fraud. If you would like to report any concerns or potential fraudulent activity then please contact the Housing Investigations Team by emailing or by calling the fraud hotline on 020 8379 4289.


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