RIGHT TO BUY AUTHENTICITY CHECKS
In 2013-14, local authorities completed 910 new homes and sold 11,261 through Right to Buy. This is well below the heady days of the 1980s when RTB sales exceeded 100,000 a year, but with talk of a doubling of those with access to RTB, now is the time to start investigating the applications. In the 80s it is well documented that property developers were funding the RTB purchase of swathes of London’s Docklands. Adverts are still placed in local papers offering assistance to anyone wishing to take advantage of the RTB discount. Flyers are posted through your tenants’ doors offering RTB funding. BBFI have found non-domiciled relatives who become resident, people on full Housing Benefit with vast savings, huge sums of money appearing in bank accounts with no explanation, and lenders who will only lend on the condition they have a share in the property.
Read the article about our survey on Right to Buy fraud published in Inside Housing in December 2015 here
BBFI find 1 in 10 RTB applications are not bona fide and are either rejected or the RTB application is withdrawn.
“Right to Buy fraud cases increased in number by over 400% between April 2012 and March 2014” (Audit Commission)
“Paul has a detailed knowledge of Council procedures and is down to earth and culturally aware… I would have no hesitation in recommending Paul to carry out this type of operation in the future.”
“BBFI have the infrastructure, specialist staff and knowledge to start a fraud team and effectively run it.”
“In the first six months BBFI investigated 100 cases and closed 53. The housing officers in partnership with BBFI have recovered the keys to or issued Notices to Quit (NTQs) in eleven cases and 47 are open and under investigation. Some of the open investigation cases are under long-term surveillance. This equates to a property recovered or NTQ issued every seven days worked.”
“Total costs spent on the BBFI services to date total £25k. Taking into account the 3 cases where RTB applications were withdrawn and assets retained in our stock as well as three cases where vacant possession was gained without costs of legal action we estimate the savings to the housing association to be upwards of £300k”
“I am proud of what we have achieved so far with the continued help of BBFI.”
“Through the partnership our staff are being upskilled to enable them to carry out more complex investigations.”
“We did not have the resources or the experience to tackle such a far reaching problem and had no idea where to start. We decided to hire professionals, BBFI on a trial basis which became more permanent.”
“As a result of 31 investigations the right to buy team working with BBFI have uncovered fraudulent application and housing benefit fraud. Five applications have been withdrawn, each of which had a potential discount of over £100k. Of the 31 applications investigated nine have completed the intended home ownership and have purchased their homes and 17 are still under investigation.”