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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70535
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Received Crawley Council (West Sussex) letter that they

Resolved Question:

Hi,
Received Crawley Council (West Sussex) letter that they will deduct my wages directly from my employer because of Council claiming that they overpaid housing benefits, based on that my wife owe the property in Lithuania. On the last meeting they asked my wife to fill the form confirming that she owner of her property. Witch is correct.
However by Lithuanian law, if property bought before she got married, the property belongs only to her and I have no rights at all to own it. I was the only claimant, there wasn't joint claim and I actually do not have any property in my balance or savings over 16000 pounds. I understand that UK law treat married couple savings or property as joint incomes or savings, but I can't do nothing even to sell my wife's property as it been bought by her 10 years before we got married. Council only and one reason to stop housing benefit was the thing that I can sell property and make living out of it, however it impossible by Lithuanian law.
Can I appeal to the court against Council? Thank you
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Is there any dispute that she owns the property?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No dispute. But she the only owner, me as her husband have no rights to it, as she bought it long time before we got married.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Did you tell the council about it?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes I have replied to Council letters via email provided on those letters. I even asked what kind of proof they have that I own the property. They sent me back a copy of that form where my wife stating that she has a property. After that I replied to Council that it is not a proof about me owning it and explained situation as to you now, however kept receiving letters... I have been told by some law graduates that Council keep preasure on me as in another way they must repay all stopped benefits and etc if they loose the Court. That is the main thing I quess... However I need full legal advise regarding this matter.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
No, when you applied for housing benefit originally did you disclose that she owned this property?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When I applied for housing benefits originally, at the same time I was asked to go to Job Centre first and claim Job seeker allowance benefit as been told these systems are linked together. When I get there first time, adviser said that claim must only be as joint because I am married, so I took wife and we claimed together, however she was in employment and only me was who lost the job at that time. On the Job Centre claim we "ticked" the box that my wife is owner of the property.
When I back to Council for housing benefits claim, I completed the form on my own as a single claimant as adviser didn't ask to claim as joint or something.. On that form was clear questions - Do you owe the property or have savings more than 16000 pounds? I ansvered "No" as don't have any of it. Later on we noticed that benefit payment haven't been received and we went to Council to enquire why? On that stage Council adviser told us that they received info from Job Centre that we are owners of the property in Lithuania and because of that they will stop benefits and ask me to repay back all. The Council letters I receiving now and original claim form was only on single claim (witch is me) and I believe I answered all questions to Council correctly.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Ok.
So you didn't disclose it? At least on the housing benefit application.
I just really need a yes or no answer as it is important we are clear on this point.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
On housing benefit is No..
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Well, that is a problem.
Whatever the state of the law in Lithuania, you are and claiming from the British taxpayer and the UK laws apply. They were entitled to be told about this and probably it would have made a difference.
If you can convince them it was an honest mistake then they may just let you repay the over payment. In fairness, they might accept that since you did disclose it elsewhere.
If not Im afraid a prosecution is likely as it is likely to be over £3k. Housing benefit racks up far faster than most other benefits I'm afraid.
I'm very sorry but I can only give you truthful information and means tested benefits are affected by ownership of property.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
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