Most people are candid about their living situations. But in some cases falsifying the truth can lead to financial or personal gain. This scenario can unfold in a variety of different ways. For example, tenants illegally subletting rooms or benefit recipients lying about their living situations to maximise support payments.
Generally, the burden of falsified cohabitation status is carried by individuals, businesses and local authorities. The latter often funded by taxpayer money. For this reason, it’s crucial to hold fraudsters accountable for their actions and avoid lining their pockets with unmerited cash.
Do you think someone is misrepresenting their living situation and fraudulently cohabiting? Read on for a detailed guide on how to launch your case, enlist the help you need and get proof of cohabitation in the UK.
Why you would need proof of cohabitation
There are all kinds of reasons someone may wish to seek proof of cohabitation in the UK. As well as individuals who suspect another person of fraud, businesses and government organisations can also benefit from uncovering the truth of a person’s living situation.
Here are some of the most common reasons people seek proof of cohabitation in the UK:
- Landlords who suspect a tenant of illegally subletting
- HMRC investigators who suspect citizens of claiming undeserved Housing Benefits or Council Tax Support for a property they’re sharing
- Individuals who suspect ex-partners of lying about their living situation to maximise maintenance payments
- Solicitors looking to prove cohabitation for divorce or custody proceedings
Whatever the case, falsifying a living situation for personal or financial gain isn’t fair or legal. Maximising housing or income benefits is one of the most common reasons Brits falsify cohabitation status. In fact, the latest government statistics reveal fraudulent benefits claims cost taxpayers around £2 billion a year. Unlawful subletting is also a major issue in the UK and can be classed as a criminal offence. It can occur with both private tenancy agreements, as well as social housing.
Before you launch a cohabitation case, it’s important to understand exactly what the term means and how it’s defined in the UK. According to Citizens Advice, cohabitation refers to two people who are living together as a couple. It’s essentially a de-facto version of marriage without the formalities. The latest statistics indicate cohabitation is on the rise, with figures doubling from 1.5 million cohabitating families in the mid-1990s to more than 3.3 million today. Cohabitation is also the fastest growing ‘family type’ in the UK.
While cohabitation can often be a good thing, it’s not uncommon for individuals and couples to unlawfully take advantage of the benefits of living together as a couple. In some cases, cohabitation can also refer to roommates living in the same property. This is an issue that’s often encountered by landlords who find their tenants illegally subletting rooms to subsidise their rent.
What the courts will request
If you suspect an individual is fabricating their living situation for personal or financial gain, the next step is to start gathering evidence to support your claim. If you plan to present your claim to a solicitor and launch a court case, it’s essential to have the right evidence in place.
This includes a daily log of activities and movements to and from the property in question. You’ll also need to provide a detailed cohabitation report containing photo and video evidence from separate visits and occasions. Generally, surveillance should be carried out over two to three weeks. This demonstrates to the court that cohabitation is continuous and ongoing – not just a one-off visit.
Photos and videos should be as clear as possible, which means an iPhone isn’t always going to cut it. Ideally, the courts would like to see high resolution photographs that clearly show the faces of the accused. Often, a telephoto lens capable of photographing subjects from a distance is a major benefit when sourcing evidence for proof of cohabitation in the UK.
How to source proof of cohabitation
The best way to source evidence to support your proof of cohabitation accusation is to enlist the help of an expert. With backgrounds in the military, police and other authorities, private investigators are expertly trained to covertly collect information and document evidence. Here are some of the key benefits you’ll unlock with a private investigator on your team:
- Industry-leading technology
The best results require industry-leading equipment. With a professional private investigator onside, your case will be supported with best-of-breed technology, including telephoto lenses and high-quality video cameras.
- Insurance and certification
A professional private investigator will keep things above board with full Public and Employers’ Liability Insurance and iCO registration. This means you won’t have to worry about breaking any laws or navigating red tape. Instead, you can focus on building your case and bringing your suspected fraudster to justice.
- Time, expertise and resources
With the help of a professional private investigator you’re far more likely to achieve your desired outcomes and confirm proof of cohabitation UK. Unlike most Brits who have work, family and social commitments, private investigators have the time, expertise and resources to carry out a thorough investigation.
- Access to sensitive documents
Private investigators are equipped with the means and knowledge to source sensitive documents that could support your proof of cohabitating case. This includes assess to civil and criminal case records, as well as marriage certificates and divorce papers.
Specialist proof of cohabitation services
Sourcing proof of cohabitation doesn’t have to be a stressful, time consuming process. Hunter Surveillance Services provides specialist surveillance and investigative services across Lancashire and the UK. We can get the proof of cohabitation you need.
For more information on our services, contact our team on 07555 712919 or email [email protected].