This page is targeted at housing professionals. Our main site is at www.shelter.org.uk

Criminal offences

This content applies to England

Criminal offences of making false statements or failing to notify of a material change in circumstances.

False statements and withholding information

It is a criminal offence for an applicant or anyone else to:

  • knowingly or recklessly make a false statement, or
  • knowingly withhold information which an authority has reasonably required in connection with the exercise of its functions with intent to induce the authority to believe that s/he is entitled to accommodation or assistance.[1]

Duty to notify change of circumstances

An applicant must notify an authority of any material change in circumstances that occurs before s/he is notified of the authority's decision on her/his homeless application. Failure to do so is also a criminal offence unless the applicant:

  • can show that s/he was not given an explanation of her/his duty in ordinary language, or
  • has some other good reason for not disclosing the change of circumstances.[2]

This offence can be also be committed by persons other than the applicant.

Sanctions

These offences are subject to fines of up to level 5 on the standard scale.[3]

Applications made before 3 April 2018

The current Homelessness Code of Guidance was introduced on 3 April 2018 and the references on this page are to this Code. For applications made before this date, the recommendations of the 2006 Code of Guidance should apply.

[1] s.214(2) and (3) Housing Act 1996; para 18.10 Homelessness Code of Guidance, MHCLG, Feb 2018.

[2] s.214(2) Housing Act 1996.

[3] s.214(4) Housing Act 1996.

Back to top