Rental Assistance Grants going directly to landlords to avoid fraud

The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services has confirmed that the Rental Assistance Grant will be paid directly to the bank accounts of landlords, following a verification process of the applications made for the grant.

In an official statement on the matter, the Ministry says it currently is engaged in processing applications for the grant.

It explains that it is taking steps to ensure no fraud occurs, and warns that those engaging in fraudulent activity, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Below, is the full text of the statement issued by the Ministry…

RENTAL ASSISTANCE BEING PROCESSED IN NAME OF LANDLORD

The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services wishes to advise that processing of rental assistance applications are ongoing, and that payment will be made directly to the Landlord’s bank account or in their name via cheque/card or direct deposit to their account. Once payments are issued, applicants i.e. the tenant, will be informed. Cognizant of the fact that some fraudulent activities have been suspected in relation to the rental assistance grant, the Ministry will be conducting verification processes via site visits to ensure that the information provided is accurate, before proceeding to honour claims made by applicants in the shortest possible time.

Nationals and permanent residents are eligible to apply for rental assistance under the social support measures being offered to assist those who are under financial strain as a result of the COVID Stay at Home Order. According to the guidelines established for rental assistance, applicants are expected to provide evidence of a rental agreement, copies of the most recent receipt and the landlord’s identification card and evidence of ownership such as a copy of a recent utility (WASA) bill. Contact information for the landlord would be useful. Ensuring the provision of all the required documentation will facilitate speedy payments directly to the landlord.

The Ministry wishes to remind the public that it has an obligation to account to taxpayers in a timely and transparent manner. As a consequence, applications are rigorously checked and balanced to ensure accountability and to prevent fraudulent payments. The Ministry also notes the concerns persons have expressed regarding using other forms of identification apart from the identification card; however the National ID card is being utilised as the unique identifier to prevent the incidence of fraud and duplication in payments. The public is also reminded that expired ID cards are acceptable.

We, at the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, strive to treat our fellow citizens with care and compassion in these extraordinary times and we urge people to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. The Government will not tolerate any attempts by citizens to defraud the system. Recommenders are urged to verify all information before signing forms. Persons who are guilty of any of these actions will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

(Image: Ministry of Social Development and Family Services)