Snooping on benefit bank accounts (including landlords?)

Snooping on benefit bank accounts (including landlords?)

0:02 AM, 6th December 2023, About 3 months ago 10

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Hello, benefit claimants will reportedly have their bank accounts monitored under new “Big Brother” anti-fraud plans drawn up by the UK government.

The law change was introduced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. According to reports, benefit claimants could have their bank account checked every month to verify whether the claimant is telling the truth about their savings. Ministers say the change could save the taxpayer £500 million in the first five years.

However, what I want to know is many landlords receive direct housing benefit payments in to their accounts in respect of some tenants. So does that mean the landlords themselves are open to having their bank accounts scoured by the government too?

Thanks,

Lee

More details on the proposals can be found here


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Comments

Reluctant Landlord

10:04 AM, 6th December 2023, About 3 months ago

No.

The person receiveing benefits is the claimant. He/She on application certifies that they are making the claim and makes a declaration that they confirm what they have made clear in the application is truthful.

The landlord is only the recipient of the rental part of the whole UC claim - made to them on behalf of the government.

The direct link is between the government and the claimant - if the government now want to check for fraud as a result of this agreement then as the giver of the benefit they are entitled to do that.

The Landlord has no link to the DWP directly so there is no justifiable legal reason to require them to even ask let alone request to look into a LL account for any purpose whateseover.

Freda Blogs

10:24 AM, 6th December 2023, About 3 months ago

If they are looking at Benefit Claimants' bank accounts, what would they do if they see that the Landlord hasn't been paid out of a tenant's UC account?

Let me guess - zero. I'd like to be wrong.

Mick Roberts

10:33 AM, 6th December 2023, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Freda Blogs at 06/12/2023 - 10:24
Ha ha yes

Lishraider

12:14 PM, 6th December 2023, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Martin Roberts at 06/12/2023 - 10:16
Is this even legal?

I agree that if someone is receiving benefit they have the power to ensure the beneficiary is not making fraudulent, claims that’s fair enough because I believe there are so many people committing this type of fraud, saying their single but in principle partner is also living there and they have a double income (not as claimed).

BUT for the average business owner, taxpayer…

When police investigate serious crimes they have to obtain a warrant to look at someone’s bank account, so how can the HMRC legally devise a software that can potentially look at/record and retain account activity without first justifying the reasons they might need to do so i.e. they have a report, info, intel of such fraudulent activity that needs investigating.

Abuse of procedure won’t get through a court system, so why do the police have to jump through hoops, follow legal and correct protocol and the HMRC don’t.

berkstunt

13:21 PM, 8th December 2023, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Lishraider at 06/12/2023 - 12:14
In the days when I was registered for VAT (and Purchase Tax before), it all came under Customs & Excise.
I remember being told by a Civil Servant that C & E have more power than the Police, dating back to the days of smuggling etc. They don't have to ask if they want to smash into premises, or attack the rowing boat just washed up ashore! I imagine they are part and parcel of HMRC, and snooping on any bank account in furtherance of their enquiries would be the least of their privileges?

Lishraider

14:32 PM, 8th December 2023, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by berkstunt at 08/12/2023 - 13:21
Interesting, thanks so much for sharing 😃

Judith Wordsworth

10:58 AM, 9th December 2023, About 3 months ago

What Landlords should really be worried about if they are receiving their rent directly from UC or Housing Benefit and their tenant(s) are fraudulently receiving more benefits than entitled to, is being legally chased to repay some or all rent received.

The landlord then has the problem of getting the money from the tenant(s) who won’t/don’t have it.

Can’t remember the case but it was Ldn Borough of Croydon HoL judgment 20+ years ago

Jessie Jones

13:21 PM, 9th December 2023, About 3 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Judith Wordsworth at 09/12/2023 - 10:58
This is so true. Went round to see one of my tenants, a mum of 3 children, with a partner who had another child.
Only to find out that partner had left several months ago and she had relinquished custody of two of her other children to their father as she wasn't coping.
So her UC housing component would have changed from 2 adults and 4 children, to one adult and one child. I have no idea whether or not she had told the DSS of this change in circumstances.
As she pays me herself, I don't have any liability here, but if the UC had been paid to me directly, it may well have been that the DSS would now be seeking to get this back off me.
When she leaves, I will sell that house as I am not allowed to discriminate against DSS, but neither do I want to deal with the problems that the DSS create. My remaining houses will all be beyond the affordability of anyone on DSS, and I will keep it that way deliberately. Well done lefties for creating a hostile system that I am not obliged to remain in.

GlanACC

12:42 PM, 10th December 2023, About 2 months ago

I casnt see any issue here. Yes, investigate the benefit claimants bank accounts, and as landlords are running a business (even if you have one property in your name) then HMRC can look at your accounts.

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