Social housing subletting – becoming illegal?

September 17, 2012

Landlord Information

Parliament continues to make efforts to get a bill through which would make the sub- letting of social housing a criminal offence.

This has long been a sore point for legitimate social housing landlords who, understandably, object to social tenants letting their properties out for profit.

Many legitimate private or private-social housing landlords have also objected to this practice, given it has connotations of malpractice, tax avoidance and the taxpayer effectively directly subsidising their competition etc.

The bill has currently passed its second reading and further progress is awaited.

Today, the pressures on social housing have never been greater.  Society is finding it increasingly difficult to service the demand in this area and has increasingly looked to private landlords to help meet the requirements placed upon them, where possible.

In doing so, private landlords are required to take into account their cost base which will, of course, include their legitimate and taxation payments.  For that reason, people letting their existing social housing for income generation purposes has long been something that legitimate landlords wished to see the back of.

At the present time, somebody found subletting social housing can only have their tenancy revoked. It is not, as such, a prosecutable offence and some have long argued that simply revoking a tenancy is a woefully inadequate deterrent.

In passing, if you are a private landlord currently offering property to social housing tenants who are receiving DSS housing benefits, you may wish to check your insurance policy.

Some landlord house insurance companies may offer policies that exclude DSS or social housing tenants.  The reasons for this are occasionally controversial but some other providers make no such distinction and offer all-tenant cover.

It might be worth noting that other tenant categories are occasionally subject to similar policy exclusions. Such policies may make special references or exclusions relating to students or some categories of immigrants etc.

If your business plan covers potentially all tenant categories, then you might wish to consider all-tenant cover policies. If nothing else that will allow you to keep your options open in future when considering tenants from any category you wish.




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