Jump to content


Benefit Fraud - Help


SarahPearson
 Share

style="text-align: center;">  

Thread Locked

because no one has posted on it for the last 4050 days.

If you need to add something to this thread then

 

Please click the "Report " link

 

at the bottom of one of the posts.

 

If you want to post a new story then

Please

Start your own new thread

That way you will attract more attention to your story and get more visitors and more help 

 

Thanks

Recommended Posts

Hi ... I'm wondering if anyone could give me any advice. I moved in with a friend of mine 9 months ago, and we agreed that I would pay half the rent, council tax and utilities which was all fine. 2 months after I moved in my housemate became unemployed and starting claiming benefits, I continued to pay half of the rent, council tax and utilities.

 

I found a couple of bills and statements the other day, and it seems that my housemate didnt notify the council when I moved in, and when she became unemployed, began claiming full housing benefit as if she lives alone. As far as I was aware, she was only claiming for half of the rent as that is all she was meant to be paying. I also found a letter from the electric company stating that they refunded her £170 a couple of months ago as she'd been overpaying, but she didnt mention this to me or give me my half.

 

My name isn't on any of the bills, except the tv licence, as I transferred this over from my old house when I moved in as she didnt have one. I assumed she had let the council know and never checked with her as she's been my friend for 5 years and I trusted her.

 

What on earth do I do? Will I be in trouble?

 

Your help/guidance would be much appreciated.

 

Many thanks

 

S

Pearson V Halifax

26/10 - statements requested

 

Pearson V Egg

01/11 - S.A.R sent with identification

 

Peason V GE Capital

27/10 - statements requested

 

Pearson V Halifax Visa

27/10 - statements requested

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would start looking for alternative accommodation as your so called friend has defrauded you and the taxpayer and is heading for a serious fall and may implicate you. Do you have receipts to prove that you have been paying your half of various bills? If not, there is a strong possibility that you will be implicated in this fraud, However if you can prove you had no idea it is unlikely that you will face criminal charges. Unfortunately you may end up being liable for 50% of the council tax either way. Again move out as soon as possible.

I am sure others will be along to offer further advice just in case I am wrong.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I disagree. The tenancy is not in your name. You've not defrauded anybody. You have not made any claim to benefit, or declared your circumstances to be different to what they are. You may well be called as a witness if the case were ever prosecuted, and you would be a strong witness for the prosecution. Your friend needs to come clean about her circumstances, and the income that she gets from you. All of her benefits are in jeopardy as is her freedom if she is convicted.

 

She also doesn't sound like a very good friend if she is keeping money that should be yours. The way this should have gone is that she claims housing and council tax benefit and she declares you as a non dependant living in the house. You provide details of your gross income and a deduction is made accordingly from her housing/council tax benefit to take into account your contribution. Alternatively, you become co tenants on the tenancy aggreement and she claims hb for half the rent.

 

If an overpayment is found, she will be the one liable, NOT you. Legally, she signed the claim forms and declared the details were accurate - her claims, her overpayment, her conviction.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Apologies as I may not have phrased it correctly. Initially there will be suspicions of fraud until they realise that you are not too blame however you will still be liable for 50% of the council tax whether or not the lease is in your name or not.

Hopefully by now you have started looking for other accommodation.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your replies.

 

My housemate is not aware that I know what's going on. What about if I ask her to sign a spreadsheet showing the money I have given her and what bills it is for? Would that save me from being responsible for 50% of the council tax? As what I've given her over the last 9 months includes half the council tax, aswell as half the bills and half the rent ...

 

Thanks, S

Pearson V Halifax

26/10 - statements requested

 

Pearson V Egg

01/11 - S.A.R sent with identification

 

Peason V GE Capital

27/10 - statements requested

 

Pearson V Halifax Visa

27/10 - statements requested

Link to post
Share on other sites

You could phone the council and mention that you are thinking of moving into a flat and whether you will get a single occupancy discount. Then go on and ask what happens if you get a flatmate. You will then be in the full picture regarding CT. Armed with this information you can then challenge her.

Obviously when you ask her, she is going to twig that you are onto her. You don't need to do a spreadsheet, just a single receipt showing that you paid 50% of the council tax to her over "x" number of months, but she may refuse. If she does refuse, advise that you will need to contact the council to advise that you have been paying her half the council tax due to you living there.

She may be under obligation to notify the council if there is an additional person living on the property as there is a possibility she may have been receiving a 25% rebate due to single occupancy. You would know this if you have contacted the council as per above. This may confirm that she may be liable to a second charge of fraud for the period prior to her receiving benefits if I am correct, but hopefully someone else will be able to confirm. Get another receipt for everything else where you have paid separately in case she tries to lumber you with other bills.

At that point she may realise that she could get done for benefit fraud and co-operate with your request. If you manage to get these receipts, ask if you can see the council tax bill and the utility bills as they will then reflect the discount and also any refunds and she will not know that you already know about it. You can then query the refund. In addition, you will be able to see that she is still paying for the utilities.

She probably also knows that if you move out, she may be stuck as she will not have a ready source of money, i.e. your utility payments, etc. This in addition to the council tax issues, this is your hold over her in the event things turn nasty.

Be as diplomatic as you can when you initially raise the subject.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Apologies as I may not have phrased it correctly. Initially there will be suspicions of fraud until they realise that you are not too blame however you will still be liable for 50% of the council tax whether or not the lease is in your name or not.

 

Only if the OP is a joint tenant. If she is a sub-tenant of the claimant then she won't be liable.

Post by me are intended as a discussion of the issues involved, as these are of general interest to me and others on the forum. Although it is hoped such discussion will be of use to readers, before exposing yourself to risk of loss you should not rely on any principles discussed without confirming the situation with a qualified person.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Only if the OP is a joint tenant. If she is a sub-tenant of the claimant then she won't be liable.

 

Proving it may be the problem unless the OP can get receipts off the tenant but then if she does she may be accepting responsibility fro council tax. Catch 22? Also depends on how the council want to interpret the rules as a lot of them seem to make them up as they go along. My wife was not named on our tenancy agreement but she was jointly liable if we defaulted. As I said though I am not too familar on this part of council rules and regulations.

I found this which helps clarify the situation a bit. See http://www.south-norfolk.gov.uk/counciltax/495.asp

Link to post
Share on other sites

Its easy to prove - whoever's name is on the council tax bill is the one liable. If both names are on the bill both are liable for any resulting arrears.

 

Sarah - is your name on the council tax bill?

Link to post
Share on other sites

The council will go after whoever they think has money!

 

 

Joint & several liability

 

Joint & several liability means that anybody with the same interest in a property, or who are at the same level in the order of priority, are jointly liable to pay the council tax.

It also means that any of these people would be expected to pay the bill if it remained unpaid.

Link to post
Share on other sites

No, my name's not on it ... she told me she'd put me on when I moved in but looks like she never did. As far as I'm aware, I pay half of the bills, but I'd never actually seen a bill to know what half of the bills were, until I found the electric bill ... Feel like such an idiot! But then I just didnt expect this from a friend.

Pearson V Halifax

26/10 - statements requested

 

Pearson V Egg

01/11 - S.A.R sent with identification

 

Peason V GE Capital

27/10 - statements requested

 

Pearson V Halifax Visa

27/10 - statements requested

Link to post
Share on other sites

The liable person is the statutory tenant not the resident who is not even named on the bill. I have never ever known a council to 'go after' anyone who does not have their name on the council tax bill. Were she named on the account it would be different, she would indeed be jointly liable and would be 'chased' despite it being no fault of her own, but as she is not, she will not be chased.

 

Otherwise you would have councils chasing landlords for their tenant's arrears, or chasing adult chlldren of parents with arrears etc etc

Edited by leemack
Link to post
Share on other sites

No, my name's not on it ... she told me she'd put me on when I moved in but looks like she never did. As far as I'm aware, I pay half of the bills, but I'd never actually seen a bill to know what half of the bills were, until I found the electric bill ... Feel like such an idiot! But then I just didnt expect this from a friend.

 

No one does expect it. You've done nothing wrong. You've only trusted your friend, which most people would do. Will you confront her about it?

Link to post
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 Caggers

    • No registered users viewing this page.

  • Have we helped you ...?


×
×
  • Create New...