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Protection of landlord property from fraudulant housing benefit applications for purposes of property misappropriation

Comment 7th July 2010

Currently central Government issues only guidelines for the processing of Housing Benefit applications to local Councils. These are not implemented uniformly with respect of protecting property owners rights and in the worst cases can leave the property owner exposed to their property being 'taken over' by a Housing Benefit claimant(s). The requirement to check with the true owner of the property that the application is valid is never made.

The claimant or someone wanting to commit the fraud simply has to tick the box stating that they are the owner, or alternatively submit contracts drawn up in the fraudsters name stating that they are the owner or landlord. All of this can be done without the true owners knowledge or consent. Once the application has been approved if the fraudster can gain entry to the property then the true owner cannot get the Housing Benefit Claimants out because their tennancy is protected by the terms of the contract drawn up, irrespective of whether the contract was drawn up with the owners knowledge or not.

In no part of this process is the applicants form verified for factual information about who the owner or landlord of the property is. This can be done via the land registry but I believe for reasons more connected with housing claimants, it is not in the interests of Councils to make these checks as their primary requirement is to house claimants, not check with owners that they have agreed to this.

Why does this matter?

I have fought a 4 year battle to gain possession of my property after false contracts were drawn up. Instead of these checks (and they should be definitive ones) being made as guidelines they should be mandatory and there should be recourse to the Council Ombadsman in the case of errors.

The police regard this as matter is considered a civil matter, but the Councils are clearly culpable in fraud. I cannot put the person(s) in jail who did this as to do so would remove my rights for a civil case and thereby get my money back. I have to wait until I have enough funds to pay for a fraud case, get my money back, then get them put in jail.

To verify what I say to be true, you need only speak to bayliffs who are aware of property crime being committed on a systematic scale with little or no protection in the law for home owners away or landlords who have been 'taken for a ride'

This cost me several £100,000 as I had to pay the mortgage while being prevented from living in my own home. It took me 4 years of hunting down the tenants and getting them onto contracts written correctly with me as the owner before I could legally evict them, as before that I had no rights and they were not considered squatters because someone had drawn up a contract and presented it as if they were the owner, when they were not.

You may just think I've been careless or naive in taking it though due process rather than taking the law into my own hands, but I am law abiding and proud of it. Many are getting rich and spending the proceeds of such crime with no redress to the victim.

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