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Illegal subletting tenants in Watford offered an amnesty
A housing association with properties in Watford is holding an amnesty ahead of a crackdown on illegal sub-letting.
Hightown Praetorian & Churches Housing Association is running the initiative until the end of February were those involved in subletting can leave the property rather than face prosecution.
The scheme has been launched in response to the introduction of the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013, which makes it a criminal offence for social housing tenants to sublet their properties.
Those caught illegally sub-letting can now face a prison sentence of up to two years, a criminal record, or a fine of up to £50,000.
David Bogle, Hightown chief executive, said: "There is currently real pressure on the supply of social housing and our homes are needed for people in genuine housing need. I would urge any Hightown tenant who is illegally sub-letting their home to take advantage of this amnesty and to contact us.
"We know that the overwhelming majority of our residents live in their homes legally and support a fair system for allocating scarce affordable housing. I would encourage anyone who suspects someone of committing tenancy fraud to let us know."
Watford MP Richard Harrington added: “It is great to see my Private Members Bill coming into force and making a difference in Watford.
"Social housing fraud is a serious crime which, as well as costing the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds every year, can prevent those who genuinely need social housing from accessing it.
"The Government has since provided £9.5 million to ensure that this crime can be properly investigated and enforced, and I know this is now being pursued actively in Watford and Three Rivers and should make a real difference.”
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