Friends sharing house

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    Friends sharing house

    I have friends who have lived in Spain for 15 years but have no resident status over there (I have recently discovered). Their mail comes to my house - a historical arrangement from when their house was uninhabitable, which has just continued. They use my house as a base in England but are not on the electoral roll here. One is Swedish, without resident status here, the other is British. I have never considered them as 'living' here as they simply stay from time to time when they work here, so claim single person status Council tax. They are effectively in a limbo state with no official status in either Britain or Spain. I have recently discovered however that they consider themselves as living here, and realise that everything - bank, car tax, etc etc is registered here. They leave a car here to use when they are in the country. I became concerned that I could be seen as having other people living here in terms of Council Tax.
    They would like to be on the electoral roll as it would make things easier for them, and they have agreed to pay a share of council tax, if they are registered here. However I am now wondering what the implications would be of having them officially living here. Brexit issues come to mind. Could they be considered as sitting tenants? Would I need to draw up some sort of agreement? They do have relatives living in Britain.
    Any thoughts or advice would be welcome. Thanks

    They are not living there, they are simply using your address as a 'Care of'' address, and they should inform the bank/DVLA/whoever else. that.
    (Maybe you should inform those organisations yourself).

    If the Brit wants to be on the Electoral Register then they can register as an overseas voter.
    Perhaps they already have been? That you say they have been in Spain for 15 years is interesting.
    You can only register as an overseas voter for 15 years, have they been registered and that period has now run out?

    Like yourself I would be worried about the legal implications of the current arrangement.
    Using a C/O address is fine, saying that it's where you are living is not.
    It could be (or maybe is already being) used for fraudulent purposes.
    I'm pretty sure it would be fraudulent to register to vote at a UK address if you live abroad.
    Then say they started to claim benefits (or already are) on the grounds they are living at your address, you could be complicit in benefit fraud.

    You might want to talk to a solicitor who knows about issues surrounding ex-pats.

    PS. Are you charging them rent for storage/parking of their car?


      Hi Nukecad
      Thanks for your reply. I don't think they will have registered to vote abroad as they see themselves as 'living below the radar' (their phrase recently used). They don't necessarily want to vote but want to be on the electoral register to make it easier to do things such as hire a car - although they have just got a credit card which makes things easier. Also the Swedish one will need to prove settled status if Brexit goes through and can't do that without some proof of living here. In Spain they only have the status of holiday makers. One of them gets a UK pension. I was shocked when one of them broke a leg to hear their response to the NHS question about whether they'd been living in the UK for the last 12 months.
      Using a c/o address would clarify things my end, but may cause them problems with bank, DWP etc as those providers all think they live in UK - eg the other day I received 2 phone calls about fraudulent activity on their bank account which I then had to relay to Spain.
      This casual arrangement made many years ago is now becoming very concerning. I had thought that getting some legal advice may be useful too.


        You should refuse permission to register to vote at your address, and should consider checking the register in the public library (this would seem a legitimate use of the unedited version). Their registering to vote in the UK would require them to make a false declaration, that they are usually resident htere.

        I'd strongly advise insisting on "c/o" for other purposes.

        If you take phone calls, you should explain the situation to the caller.

        You should be particular worried if any of these changes would cause them problems with the benefits authorities, as that would suggest planned or actual benefit fraud.

        It is not illegal, and often necessary, to have a UK correspondence address, particularly one at which legal documents can be served, but it should not be used to "go under the radar".

        You are in danger of being entrapped into conspiracy to defraud.


          You need to take legal advice on the council tax. They are clearly not resident in the UK for most purposes (NHS, electoral roll, etc.), but they could well be considered legally as residing at the property for council tax purposes.

          Originally posted by Elsiebee View Post
          Also the Swedish one will need to prove settled status if Brexit goes through and can't do that without some proof of living here.
          They're clearly not settled in the UK. Using the address to gain that settle would you know, be fraudulent.

          Originally posted by Elsiebee View Post
          In Spain they only have the status of holiday makers.
          If that's the status the Spanish authorities consider them, then they've clearly not told the authorities correct information.
          I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

          I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.


            So at least one of them has already made a fraudulent claim to get NHS funding for treatment of a broken leg.
            How many others?

            You also mention the DWP so that sounds very likely there is benefit fraud going on.
            You can get certain benefits if living in the EU, but you say that you are living there.

            And of course it would be fraudulent for the Swede to try and get residential status when he isn't resident.

            They are not under the radar, they are on the radar but trying to fool it to take advantage of things they are not entitled to.

            It's time you brought this situation to an end, quickly, before you get prosecuted for abbetting fraud.


              Thanks for all your replies. I have recently become extremely concerned about this situation as it has developed, and you have all mentioned the particular things that I am bothered about. I have become concerned that I will be implicated in what I am now seeing as fraudulent activity. I will take legal advice. Thanks everyone.


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