Has My Previous Landlord Pulled A Fast One And Shafted Me ?

Discussion in 'Finance, Property, Law' started by Spanny, Apr 27, 2013.

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  1. Last year I quit my job and spent a few months abroad . When I got back I found my job hadn't been kept and found myself signing on the dole and claiming housing benefit with the benefit being paid stright to the landlord landlord . I only claimed till the start of this year because my parents then bought my flat for me . I contacted the landlord and he said he'd contact the DSS and inform them of this

    Yesterday I got a letter from the council saying they'd overpaid me housing benefit to the tune of a couple of grand and that I have to pay it back . The thing is I never got to see a penny of the housing benefit land since it went straight to the landlord so what they doing writing to me ? . I'll phone up the council first thing on Monday to find out what's happening but can't contact the landlord because he seems to have disappeared

    The thing that's worrying me is that it's possible I've been scammed by the landlord and made sure I contacted the council a couple of months ago telling them of my changed circumstances . But surely if the benefit is being paid direct to the landlord then that's got nothing to do with me and I don't owe the council any repayments ? Anyone know what the legal situation is ?
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  2. If you told the council of your change of circs (in writing I hope!) then you shouldn't have an issue. Don't phone the council on Monday, go and speak to someone in person, or at least make an appointment to do so.

    I saw similar things when I worked at the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (we don't have "council" properties). It's possible that the overpayment is simply an admin error on your council's part.
  3. *I am NOT a lawyer - this is just my experience*

    I spent many years running hostels, and we had the HB portion of the rent paid direct to us, and we were directly billed for any overpayments. As far as I can see, if the direct payments were properly set up to the landlord, he should be the one repaying. HTH

    BTW, he should have informed the Local Authority, not DSS.
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  4. I'll guess that if you were receiving housing benefit you were also receiving Council Tax benefit for which you would be liable.
  5. I am confused. You state last year you quit your job, but when you got back, you found your job hadn't been kept. Why if you quit your job, do you think your employer (or should I say ex employer) is going to keep the position open for you?
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  6. If you have proof that you reported to them a change of circumstances back then(paper/call details n such) then you have no need to worry. The landlord also IMHO, has to be held accountable not you

    Best thing to do is speak with them again and then clarify the above and then go to CAB and/or speak to a lawyer for advice
  7. I'm in the same role as bigpod was in - We get the Housing benefit direct. I'd get in touch with the local authority straight away (tomorrow) and explain everything. make sure you tell them the fact that the HB was direct to the landlord. They may start to say that you are responsible for it, but you might be able to get around that one under the fact that if the lanlord was still claiming housing benefit AFTER you moved out then that is benefit fraud. If they still harp on that you are to blame, then I'd say there are 2 options -
    1) You could try the small claims court, again the fact that he KNEW you moved out and still claimed won't look good for him in court, the judge might rule he needs to pay you the cash (same as he if claim the JSA you were entitled to), for you to then pay the local authority back with.
    2) Contact him direct and say that you have been told to pay the money back, so he has to give it to you or you will dob him in for benefit fraud. He won't want to go to court for benefit fraud and the govt is having a clamp down on it as they have no cash in the pot.

    I reckon this might not be the first time he has done it, if he's had the chance before.

    Edited to add - He may have even moved and kept your claim going, which would be even worse for him!
  8. Exactly!

    Spanny is clearly some sort of retard!
  9. Thanks for the sensible replies from some of you . I'm just back from the phone explaining to the housing benefit people at the local council qouting my reference numbers etc and explaining to them that I wrote off to them a few months ago I didn't recieve any benefit and it was paid direct to the landlord etc etc . As Saucedoctor suggested it seems to be an oversight on the part of the council , everything is above board so if the landlord is on the make he's the one who's gonna get shafted not me

    BTW just to point out I didn't really expect my job to be kept open for me in the months I was away but if the worst came to the worst I could gone back to it . Came off the plane , headed straight to my old workplace , walked straight in to the kitchen and said " AW RIGHT GUYS ? " only to find a bunch of strangers looking at me

    "Huh is so and so here "

    " No he's left "

    " So and so ? "

    " No he's left "

    " Hmmm , so and so ? "

    No he's left too "

    " Oh right " *

    So out of the entire kitchen staff everyone who was working there had left while I was away , though I doubt if my leaving was a catalyst for change . Something of a pity though since I was needing a work reference and didn't have contact details of my erstwhile colleagues , well apart from one of the waitresses but she didn't stay in touch because she had a jealous boyfriend who didn't like blokes being friendly with his girlfriend . Anyway thanks for the sensible responses from most of you . BTW 23up23down has anyone told you you're a complete fuckin' ******** ? If not you need to get out a lot more

    * And before anyone asks " so and so " aren't real names - persec to protect the guilty etc
  10. Of course they have & in some cases they may have had a point.............However....

    If you're in the Army, you don't normally claim from the DSS or have a Civvy Landlord or a job in a Cafe.......
    There is also no need to be a sponger, because the boys are paid, reasonably well!

    So......if I'm an ********, what does that make you?
  11. It's been mentioned on occasion