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Housing applicants exposed as cheats

(Shanghai Daily)

10:59, December 06, 2011

Almost 10,000 applicants for budget homes were disqualified this year after they were found to have lied in their forms for housing in cities including Shanghai and Beijing.

Of a total of 9,981 disqualifications, 2,645 were in Shanghai, 5,144 in Beijing, 2,077 in Luoyang in Henan Province and 115 in Henan's Zhengzhou and Kaifeng, the Legal Evening News reported yesterday.

Some applicants working for tobacco or telecom companies wrote that their family income was zero, while a staff worker from the Agricultural Bank of China was found using a fake income certificate to qualify for affordable housing, the newspaper reported.

It said some inspectors were found unwilling to highlight errors in documents for fear or reprisals.

One case reported by Henan housing authorities showed that eight high-ranking officials, all Communist Party members, lied in their documents to apply for budget homes, but their applications had been approved by inspectors until their details were made public, the newspaper said.

Liang Yuemin, an official with Henan Province Academy of Social Science, told the newspaper that inspecting applications was proving difficult as the workload was heavy and there were not enough inspectors to ensure that every detail was carefully checked.

Liang said that sometimes inspectors skipped the verification of applicants' documents, which allowed some cheats to pass the qualification process.

Meanwhile, housing authorities are working out stricter regulations to punish applicants who cheat.

In Hebei Province, a new regulation cancels the right to apply for budget homes for life if an applicant is found to have cheated just once.

Applicants who are found cheating also face a 30,000 yuan (US$4,714) fine.

In Beijing, anyone found to have lied in their documents when applying for budget housing would be disqualified immediately even if they had moved in to the affordable house.

Shanghai Municipal Housing Support and Building Administration Bureau officials said previously that individuals who falsify details in their applications would be severely punished, including a five-year ban on applying for a home.


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