Recovery of overpayment

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    We received a claim form on which it stated that the claimant was not related to his landlord and that he had not previously been the owner of the property. We paid HB for several months. We have now discovered that the landlady is the claimants sister and that the property was left jointly to the two of them (and to their other sister) by their father. All three of them were executors of the estate. None of the three children lived in the property prior to it being left to them.
    The sister (landlady) decided to purchase the property and paid one third of its value to her sister. The brother (ie the claimant) waived his right to his share, but was allowed to live in the property by his sister. His share of the value of the house was used to renovate the property for him to live in. His sister then charged him rent, for which he claimed HB.
    We have now cancelled the HB under Reg 9(1)(h), as he has owned the property within the last five years. Hopefully, this is correct?
    However, we now have an overpayment re the HB we have paid over the past few months (when we were unaware that the claimant was a former owner). The claimant has some kind of mental or personality disorder, therefore his sister (the landlady) filled in the app form for him, although he then signed it. He is married and lives in the property with his wife. I don’t know the full extent of his mental problem, but he does seem able to live relatively normally. The HB was paid to the claimant for most of the time although part of it was paid direct to the landlady.
    Can anyone help as to who we should pursue for the o/p? Basically, the claimant signed the form to say it was correct, but it was his landlady/sister who actually filled it in and I suspect she just gave it to him and told him to sign it.


    There was clearly a misrepresentation here (and innocence is no defence). Your targets for recovery will be the claimant and the claimant and landlord for the period that HB was paid direct to the landlord. You might decide that the landlord is also liable for the period that HB was paid direct to the claimant although that is a little trickier especially if it is LHA.

    If the decision is not appealled, you then need to decide whether to enforce recovery and from whom.

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