Benefit cheats now fraudsters, unless you're a landlord… | Discuss

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Benefit cheats now fraudsters, unless you're a landlord…
16/09/2013
10:56 am
News @ Tenant Referencing
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It is a widely covered news story that Britain’s most senior prosecutor has set out new guidelines which will see increased jail terms of up to 10 years for benefit cheats – but will this address the ever-increasing problem of tenants not passing on their Housing Benefit to their landlords?

 

In the past, benefit cheats have been pursued under specific social security legislation which carries a maximum prison term of 7 years – but can now be charged under the Fraud Act carrying a maximum sentece of 10 years.

The CPS have also said that the financial threshold which prevented benefit fraud cases of less than £20,000 from being sent to crown court will also be abolished – bringing the prosecution of benefit fraud in line with the prosecution of other fraud cases.

Under the new guidelines, prosecutors in England and Wales will be told to seek tough penalties in cases with aggravating features such as multiple offences, abuse of position or substantial loss to public funds.

Professionally planned frauds, the use of a false or stolen identity and cases involving attempts to dispose of the evidence will also be targeted.

The CPS claim that they saw more than 8,600 prosecutions in benefit and tax credit cases in 2012, along with 4,000 in the first 5 months of this year – with a conviction rate of 89.7%.

At Landlord Referencing Services we hear from dozens of landlords and agents on a daily basis regarding tenants that have not passed on their Housing Benefit to them.

SO WHAT IS THE FRAUD?

 

  • Is it that they make the application fraudulently?
    or
  • When they receive the money they do no allocate it to what it was originally claimed for?

At LRS our community do not understand how the government can take an incredibly good stance on benefit fraud that affects us all but once in receipt of this money, which is paid for something specific, it can then be spent on lifestyle and luxury without any further recourse from either their government or their landlord…?

If the government is to change this to fraud it has to be seen that as “fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual” that a tenant who takes their LHA money and spends it on anything other than the rent that they have commited fraud in the first degree.

Therefore if they take this money and do not use if for its intended purpose it must be fraud.

We all know that Universal Credit is on its way, so please pass this news story on.

 

Related topics:

Fraudster left homeless after benefit scam backfires

70% of tenants fall into arrears

16/09/2013
11:19 am
Mary Latham
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I have always been told that the reason that they do not take action against those who do not pass on the housing benefit to the landlord is that they cannot prove intent at the time of the application.  I can see where the burden of proof could be difficult on a first offender because the claimant would simply say they he did not intend to withhold the rent when he applied but his circumstances changed at a later date

BUT

When a person has done this more than once there it would be very straightforward to “prove” that he had the intent at the time of the second and subsequent applications and therefore he “intended” fraud at the time of the application.  Taking public money that is meant to secure a home and using it for other purposes so that the home is lost puts a burden on the whole country and ads an enormous workload to local authorities once that tenant is evicted.  It also reduces the tax collected from the landlord because the he has no rent to declare.  WE the tax payers are paying three times for this fraud and it needs to be stopped.  This is not about landlords it is about the cost to the public purse – we are just innocent bystanders.

 

Two things need to change

1. A tenant who, on a second tenancy does not pay the landlord should be prosecuted by the local authority for benefit fraud

2. The local authority should be released from their statutory obligation to find this tenant a new home when he is evicted because his actions have caused him to be homeless and that should be covered by the rule which says that the LA have no obligation to a person who has intentionally made himself homeless

 

Welfare Reform is intended to reduce the cost to the public purse and in my opinion this is a major issue that has not been addressed.

 

I am certain that landlord referencing would be more than willing to provide local authorities with the evidence that a claimant has a past record of not paying his rent to the landlord and that is all the evidence they would need.

 

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16/09/2013
11:59 am
Paul Routledge
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The burden of proof to show intent of fraud should not lie with the police the burden of responsibility must lie with the claimant.

Ignorance of the law is no defence and therefore when receiving free money on behalf of a payment for something specific and then never passing it on, must be the responsibility of the claimant. There may be many people who do not intend to claim falsely yet mistakenly do so and these people are subjected to exactly the same prosecutions as those that do it with intent. The mitigating circumstances may give them a lesser sentence but nevertheless they have still broken the law in the eyes of the law.

I believe in one law for us all and therefore where benefit recipients are responsible for what they claim for, they must also be responsible for where it goes and if it goes to the wrong place, it must be their responsibility and theirs alone.

The Governments position is that all tenants are equal and this is the reasoning behind Universal Credit and no direct payment to landlords.  It is ridiculous to think that they are going to introduce a law which makes the false claiming of benefits a fraud yet the spending of it elsewhere other than what it was intended for is utter nonsense.

If the Government is intending to reduce benefits in order to get people back to work they must introduce laws which makes the spending of those benefits not for luxuries.  All the time that benefit tenants can treat their benefits like a wage and by anything other than the purpose for which it was given is once again like closing the door after the horse has bolted.

16/09/2013
12:12 pm
@HumberTyneLtd
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@landlordtweets

#property. This is why I think Government are missing a big issue under Welfare Reform & benefit fraud http://www.landlordreferencing…..16493 …@LandlordRef

 

Agreed. However, many of the people who don’t pass on LHA have so little, it isn’t worth pursuing them.

 

@landlordtweets
Probably not but at least the LA will not have a duty to rehouse & continue to pay them our tax pounds #property

 

I think LAs need to understand they effectively becomes the tenant by supporting tenants on benefits.

You can’t see a healthy PRS for claimants if benefit money is inconsistently paid & arrears v hard to recover.

 

@landlordtweets
I agree and this is a pity for the many good #tenants who need the support of benefits. We need more trust

 

Spot on. I’ve always said benefits are no guide whatsoever to whether someone is a good tenant or not. #PRS

16/09/2013
12:29 pm
@HumberTyneLtd
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Many #landlords would agree with you. I’ve got some great tenants on LHA and some not so great who are working

 

A friend once told me his worst tenant was a LA housing officer – no rent, flat needed £1000s to refurb.

17/09/2013
7:37 pm
@ZEPHYoRUS
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Paul_Rout: Benefit cheats now fraudsters, unless you’re a landlord… :http://t.co/xZf3rgK7kp #ukhousing #news #views

 

or a Local Authority housing Officer, an MP, CEO in Social Housing, Tax Accountant, Privatised part of the NHS. Country Corrupted

 

via twitter

17/09/2013
10:39 pm
zipster31
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Claiming of Housing Benefit and subsequent non payment to the landlord should be answerable under an amended 1978 Theft Act, Sections 1 & 3 – “Obtaining Services By Deception” and “Making Off Without Payment”. It is plain deception and theft with intent in my view. And it’s my tax money they steal so I should be compensated too.

19/09/2013
7:38 pm
AlexJ
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Paul Routledge said
The burden of proof to show intent of fraud should not lie with the police the burden of responsibility must lie with the claimant.

Ignorance of the law is no defence and therefore when receiving free money on behalf of a payment for something specific and then never passing it on, must be the responsibility of the claimant. There may be many people who do not intend to claim falsely yet mistakenly do so and these people are subjected to exactly the same prosecutions as those that do it with intent. The mitigating circumstances may give them a lesser sentence but nevertheless they have still broken the law in the eyes of the law.

Therefore: One size fits all

I believe in one law for us all and therefore where benefit recipients are responsible for what they claim for, they must also be responsible for where it goes and if it goes to the wrong place, it must be their responsibility and theirs alone.

The Governments position is that all tenants are equal and this is the reasoning behind Universal Credit and no direct payment to landlords.  It is ridiculous to think that they are going to introduce a law which makes the false claiming of benefits a fraud yet the spending of it elsewhere other than what it was intended for is utter nonsense.

If the Government is intending to reduce benefits in order to get people back to work they must introduce laws which makes the spending of those benefits not for luxuries.  All the time that benefit tenants can treat their benefits like a wage and by anything other than the purpose for which it was given is once again like closing the door after the horse has bolted.

****************************************************************************************************

Here Here on all counts Paul

Again and again: We learn that

Some people have to be forced to do the right thing by law and punishment 

What a dreadful state the human race is in

19/09/2013
8:02 pm
Amy
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Zipster31 said
Claiming of Housing Benefit and subsequent non payment to the landlord should be answerable under an amended 1978 Theft Act, Sections 1 & 3 – “Obtaining Services By Deception” and “Making Off Without Payment”. It is plain deception and theft with intent in my view. And it’s my tax money they steal so I should be compensated too.

Exactly.

Most of the ills with our society can be put directly at the feet of bad laws. 

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