Bedford Man Commits Social Housing Fraud and has to Repay £34k

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A Bedford man has suffered the consequences of making a false statement on his application to bpha for social housing in 2011.

The man lived out of area at the time of his application and he gave a family link as his local connection, claiming that he wanted to be housed in the Bedford area so that he could live closer to and care for a person that he described as his disabled sister who was living in a Bedfordshire village.  He was granted a flat near to the town centre of Bedford, for which he claimed Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction.

Bedford Borough Council’s Investigation Service were notified in 2016 of concerns that the tenant had not been living at his flat and somebody else was residing there. Council Officers established during this investigation that the flat had been empty from the grant of the tenancy in 2011 until 2015, when it appeared that a young male started using the property. A review of CCTV footage within the block identified the young male and showed him making regular use of the property. This person was later identified to be the son of the tenant.

Further investigation indicated that the tenant had actually been living with the female he described as his “sister” the whole time and that the female was in fact his wife.

The tenant admitted to not living at the property for a period of time and stated that the false information given regarding his relationship with his wife was a simple mistake and had not been done deliberately.

To settle the matter, the tenant agreed to return the keys of the property to bpha, received a formal Caution and offered to pay the Council’s costs of the investigation of £1,240.  He also accepted that he received an overpayment of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction of £34,151.31, which he has agreed to repay.

 

For further information please contact:

Justine Halsey, Corporate Communications             

Tel: 01234 276276

Bedford Man Commits Social Housing Fraud and has to Repay £34k

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