Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications, experience, or professional insurance of anyone posting on Mumsnet and cannot be held responsible for any advice given on the site. Free legal advice is available from a Citizen's Advice Bureau, and the Law Society can supply a list of local solicitors.

Housing Benefit problems, please help!

(35 Posts)
Formentera1 Sun 22-Sep-13 14:24:41

I am very worried as I have been claiming housing benefit and c/w taxcredit without knowing I am not entitled to do so. I have only now found out. I own two properties, one is rented out one my ex partner lives in. I am renting with my 2 small children. I get no income from any of those places but they are on both our names. Now I am very worried that I will have to pay the housing benefit back I received over the last 2 years as I have no extra cash! I am happy to stop claiming housing benefit but don't know what to tell the housing benefit office! Please help!!

Tell them the truth.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 22-Sep-13 15:06:02

Absolutely tell them the truth. Yes, you'll probably have to pay it back and, even if you're short of cash, you do have the luxury of owning two properties. hmm

piratecat Sun 22-Sep-13 15:08:52

when you applied for housing benefit did you omit to tell them about your assets, these properties. If so you know you've lied in first place.

piratecat Sun 22-Sep-13 15:09:32

how are you going to pay your rent then?

just ring them up and say you don't need to claim anymore, and leave it.

Rian Sun 22-Sep-13 15:22:41

Probably best to tell housing benefit ASAP as they will most likely find out in the end anyway and it will just look worse then. If you have been overpaid you can arrange to pay it back in instalments that you can afford. I suggest you contact your local citizens advice bureau for help. Tax credits are not usually affected by savings or property you own, only any income you get from them.

noisytoys Sun 22-Sep-13 15:25:13

It's probably best you tell them before they find out. They will find out. I can't see how you didn't know they assets threshold is quite low (certainly far lower than 2 properties!)

RoonilWazlibWuvsHermyown Sun 22-Sep-13 18:54:22

I find it hard to believe this happened by accident when the forms have questions about assets and property which you will have had to lie on to get the HB in the first place. You'll have to tell them and you'll have to pay it back. Although I suppose you could try not telling them but they could find out eventually and then you won't even be able to pretend that you didn't know.

lougle Sun 22-Sep-13 19:02:43

So when you answered the question 'Do you own any property?' why did you not say 'yes'?

viperslast Sun 22-Sep-13 19:26:59

The form specifically asks so you either ticked yes and you are ok or you tick no and have been committing benefit fraud. You can take the risk and write in asking them to end your claim from x date and hope they never ask or you can come clean.

Honestly have no idea what they will do though, they may think it was an honest mistake and arrange gradual repayment or they may decide to go the whole hog. Sorry not to be more supportive here but you need to be realistic about the possibility here before making any decisions.

Formentera1 Sun 22-Sep-13 20:41:05

Thanks for all the feedback so far! I an not remember filling in the form its been about 2 years now. I probably thought I don't get any benefit out of the properties as they are all link towards my ex partner (father of my kids) bank account so I financially have no benefit from it and they are all on mortgage.
I will start working full time to be able to pay my rent and also moving to a cheaper place to safe on rent. I can't believe myself how I by mistake not realized I am not entitled to as I could have only claimed c/w tax credit which would have been than higher and would't been in such trouble now. :-(

DrinkFeckArseGirls Sun 22-Sep-13 21:10:28

Well, if nothing is in your name, then I don't see an issueconfused.

lougle Sun 22-Sep-13 21:14:10

Are you, or are you not, named on the mortgages?

Formentera1 Sun 22-Sep-13 22:10:11

I am on the mortgage but I don't get any rental income from it as my ex gets this and pays the mortgage with it. And he lives in the second property. But I assume it still counts as capital from my side.

RoonilWazlibWuvsHermyown Sun 22-Sep-13 22:23:28

If you are on the mortgage then doesn't that mean you own it? The questions don't ask "do you benefit from rental income on a house?". They ask about owning property, which you do, so you've committed benefit fraud.

lougle Sun 22-Sep-13 22:27:15

If you are on the mortgage, you own the property. You have committed fraud and there is no way out of it other than to tell the Benefits section.

Formentera1 Mon 23-Sep-13 11:14:03

Yes it's probably the only way to tell them and see the outcome of it. I hope the over payment wont be too high arggg!

I remember the housing people on a programme a short while ago saying it is a serious criminal offence to lie like this. There was a guy who may have been on the mortgage with his ex wife and they brought in the supervisor to quiz him as it was so serious.

You have been committing benefit fraud and ignorance or forgetting is no excuse.

Nadz19 Tue 24-Sep-13 23:13:04

Hi formentera1, please do not panic!!! You have not committed benefit fraud as claimants can still claim housing benefit on a rented property even if they own properties. You just have to prove that you have gained no income/profit from the ownership and that monies received from tenants is used to pay back an outstanding mortgage!! As you have an ex-husband living in one of the properties and he does all the paperwork, please provide proof to your hb office with a statement. They will need you to provide proof of your income and bank and savings accounts. Please do this right away so as not to worry yourself so you can straighten things out.

I also suggest if some mumsnetters don't know housing benefit legislation they lay off the scaremongering!!! Hope all goes well (an ex-housing benefit officer)

Formentera1 Wed 25-Sep-13 13:18:43

Thank you so much Nadz19!! Finally a positive respond that helps! I certainly have not done that deliberately or I would not have posted on this. Thank you so much again for this info!!

HerrenaHarridan Wed 25-Sep-13 13:30:41

Fuck sake it's people like you lot that give us all a bad name.

In the stressed confused haze of splitting up its more than possible op was confused/misled by the hb forms, which lets face it are as clear as mud in places.

I would suggest a more helpful response would be
"op this is potentially quite serious but don't panic you can repay by instalments if you don't have the 2 years worth of rent sat around. Best course of action contact hb yourself, you will be treated much more kindly than if you leave them to figure it out for themselves"

Personally I would call citizens advice first and get someone from there to go through it all with you and help you set things right with hb

Good luck smile

FellatioNelson Wed 25-Sep-13 13:33:45

I'm not sure how you ever honestly thought you were entitled to HB on a rented home when you own two properties between you.

Only someone very dim would think that. But you own two houses so you can't be that dim, surely? If you can understand the risks of buy to let you can understand a benefits questionnaire.

viperslast Wed 25-Sep-13 14:40:34

Nadz as she has claimed for two years and NOT declared already and provided relevant evidence she has committed benefit fraud however it may be possible to sort it out. Some people she meets at the council may be helpful and understanding some may not. It is a risk the op is going to have to face.

Am I understanding this right... you can own or part own one or more properties and rent them out.

And as long as the rental isn't more than the mortgage, ie you aren't making a profit on them, then you can live somewhere else and claim housing benefit?

confused

so in a roundabout way you are getting the mortgage paid by benefits on a property that you could presumably either sell and buy something more suitable/another area/where you are now with the proceeds, or kick out the tenants and live in one yourself.

But of course that would involve having to actually pay the mortgage on the house you live in....

FellatioNelson Wed 25-Sep-13 14:55:03

I'm not sure if you can because you have to declare assets and if the house has any equity in it then you are expected to either sell it and use the money to fund yourself, or to just live in it, aren't you?

I can't imagine a situation where everyone who was in negative equity was just entitled to rent their house out to cover the mortgage and then claim HB on a rented house. That would be mental.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now