Suspected Serious Housing Benefit fraud.

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  • Suspected Serious Housing Benefit fraud.

    Hi, I;m speaking on behalf of a friend ho is a fellow landlord.

    He has a tenant on HB who is currently in arrears.
    The tenant claims housing benefit has been stopped and started multiple times over the period of a few weeks.

    When the landlord asked questions about the rent arrears, the tenant openly admitted that he was involved in benefit fraud.

    if the landlord now receives rental payments in cash, would that be illegal?
    I have advised him that he would be seen as him receiving "dirty money"
    My thinking is that if he was receiving stolen goods then that would be illegal, and I suggested it would most probably be the case with "stolen money"

    if he cannot take any form of rental payment this would be very financially damaging for him.
    He says he wishes to report the benefit fraud as soon as possible, but he is worried he will be stuck with a non-paying tenant.
    She is currently in arrears for 2600 GBP, and this is likely to get even higher with the time it takes to get a tenant out.
    Not only that, but as soon as he makes the phone call, the tenant will know about it by the investigation letters, and he is worried about the condition of the property.
    Basically she may throw a temper tantrum when she finds out he has reported her, and this could result in the house being completely trashed.

    He has asked her to leave and she is being exceptionally difficult about it. a section 21 was issued, but can he take any payments?


    can someone offer any light into the situation?

  • #2
    Grass this crook up
    https://www.gov.uk/report-benefit-fraud

    Me, I'd directly inform HB dept. And I'd assume they are fiddling other things.

    It is surely the duty of any honest and patriotic citizen to report misdoing to the appropriate authorities.

    Issue receipts for any cash paid (obsv...)

    Issue s21 & s8 & MCoL and evict. No reference or an entirely honest & full one.
    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

    Comment


    • #3
      if this ends up in the hands of the fraud office, would the landlord be expected to pay back all the rent money he received?
      because he would rather NOT take the money if that were the case and doesn't want anything to do with illegal activity.

      And yes, they will be grassed up, that much is definite.

      Could you tell me what MCoL is please, because I'm a new landlord myself and have never heard of that.

      Comment


      • #4
        Is the landlord being paid the HB directly to his bank account by the council? Or is he always paid by the tenant?

        Comment


        • #5
          If the landlord receives rent from the tenant, it isn't any concern of the landlord how they get the money.
          The tenant owes the rent - which is obviously the case, the landlord can't sue the local authorities or the DWP for the arrears.

          The benefit fraud is a separate issue altogether and should be reported to the authorities if that's what the landlord thinks is the right thing to do (I do).

          If the landlord is being paid benefits directly and the LA find out about the fraud, they will seek to recover the benefit paid from the landlord (which is a fun feature of renting to people on benefits).
          When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
          Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

          Comment


          • #6
            Mrs Mug,

            He is always paid in cash. Although he always gives a written receipt at the time.
            Generally the tenant is supposed to deposit the money into a bank account, but since she is constantly in arrears, its usually the case that the landlord is forced to go round and see her about it. which is how he found out about the fraud.

            Comment


            • #7
              jpkeates,

              I don't think the landlord had any intention of suing the DWP.

              The landlord is not receiving any money directly from the benefits department.
              I have been told the money is paid into a post office account and then she takes the cash from the ATM and waits for him to collect the rent.
              Eventually he chases up the arrears and goes to see her about the missing payments.

              The landlord has never had anything to do with any fraud and is quite shocked about it.

              However it seems he is only liable to pay it back depending on how exactly he obtained the money, and since it was not paid directly to him from HB, he is not liable for any fraud which the tenant may be committing.

              I will be speaking with him this afternoon and advise him to take the rent payments in cash and provide the written receipts, and also report the fraud asap.
              then go to court and get a section 21.

              Due to the complexity of the whole thing, I think he would be biting off more than he could chew with a section 8 as I have heard horror stories about it taking over a year to get tenants out.

              I think its got to the stage where he just wants nothing to do with it.

              Thank you all so much for clearing the payments issue up.

              Comment


              • #8
                There are issues with s8 evictions, because they can be defended and, if the tenant is smart, they can drag out the process.
                S21 notice is more certain, but can still take a long time (a lot depends on where the landlord lives and how busy the local court and bailiffs are).
                Your friend should prepare for a frustrating drawn out process, and the main thing to do is to check that everything that needs doing before a s21 notice can be validly issued has been done and that the notice is correct in format and wording.
                When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Spoken to my friend again today.

                  He says the wording of her txt messages could only have come from the CAB or someone like that as her usuall spelling is terbile.

                  I belive she may have tried to fight an eviction by getting the CAB involved.
                  Fortunately the landlord has done everything by the book and never tried to cut corners.

                  The section 21 was issued,
                  the depsoit was taken care of properly.
                  she is at least 4 months into the tenancy
                  the right to rent booklet was provided along with a gas CP12 when it was due.

                  is there anything else?
                  neither me or the LL has ever been forced to take court action before, so I'm just as clueless as him to be honest.

                  From what I gather, he files online for a court date.
                  on the date, he goes to court on his best behavior, and shows them the postage that a section 21 was sent and on what date.
                  the judge looks at it and issues him with a writ (or something similar)
                  he then takes the writ and posts it by 1st class to the tenant.
                  after a few weeks, if she hasn't moved out, he goes to the court a 2nd time.

                  i think that's about it for now?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Suggest you both book on course on how to be a Landlord
                    I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by EU9k View Post

                      if the landlord now receives rental payments in cash, would that be illegal?
                      I have advised him that he would be seen as him receiving "dirty money"
                      My thinking is that if he was receiving stolen goods then that would be illegal, and I suggested it would most probably be the case with "stolen money"
                      No illegality about receiving cash. He owes you money legitimately. If this is all going to be scrutinised I suggest your friend pays the cash into his business bank account so date/amounts tally.

                      Dirty money is money that has come about through laundering (drugs, ammo, etc) and I wouldn't particularly use the term for payment of rent that may or may not have come from the local authority and may or may not have eminated from a fraudulent claim.

                      Surely 2600 will be over 8 weeks money? Look into having it paid direct.

                      Do we know on what basis the claim could be fraudulent?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by EU9k View Post
                        When the landlord asked questions about the rent arrears, the tenant openly admitted that he was involved in benefit fraud.
                        In all of this thread there has been no indication of just what this 'benefit fraud' is supposed to be.

                        We don't know what was said.
                        We don't know how much the OP/ friend knows about benefit legislation.

                        Less than 7% of benefit fraud allegations are substantiated.
                        To put it another way out of every 100 allegations made 93 are rejected.
                        http://www.welfareweekly.com/exclusi...substantiated/

                        (Of coures though everyone knows the governments own figures are wrong, Tory MPs will tell you everybody on benefits is fiddling something - and it says so on the telly).

                        Since I've been on a disability benefit I have been reported for faud (working) twice, once mistaken, once malicious.

                        Figures might be different if those making malicious reports were prosecuted, but they aren't.
                        Its the only area of UK law where if you make a malicious report you will not be prosecuted for it.

                        There is no indication in this thread that any fraud has been commited at all, just that one sentence in the opening post.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          You say the benefits are paid directly to your tenants.
                          Then you have no problem.

                          The tenant is responsible for giving your friend the rent money, and they have not done so.
                          Therefore evict due to breach of contract of the A.S.T. for not paying rent as demanded in the contract, by which ever means available to you.
                          4 months into the contract, would be o.k. to issue an S21 as you need to give 2 months notice anyway, and to confirm that the contract will not extend past the last day of the tenancy ( assuming a 6 month tenancy )

                          Forget benefits, and fraud, as that is not your concern, as you do not get paid the rent by the council, so you are in the clear.

                          Comment

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