Damage caused by tenants ex – who pays?

by Readers Question

3 years ago

Damage caused by tenants ex – who pays?

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Damage caused by tenants ex – who pays?

One of my tenants had her/my house damaged when her recent ex partner (father of her child and on the tenancy up until May 2014) broke in recently.

The police were called and they boarded up the house. Damage caused by tenants ex - who pays?

I have received a bill from the police for this, do I pay or does the tenant as I see this as a domestic.

The father has admitted the damage and at the moment he is in prison.

Thank in advance for your thoughts

Regards

George Clark

Comments

Mark Alexander

3 years ago

Hi George

If the damage is significant then it must of course be an insurance claim. Given that the damage was caused by a break in I see no reason why your insurers would not pay out. However, it may be that the damage is not significant enough to warrant an insurance claim, e.g. it's less than the insurance excess premium. Either way, I would hold the tenant responsible for the cost of the repair or the insurance premium excess, whichever is most appropriate.

The legal custodian of your property is your tenant. On this basis I would be asking the police why they have addressed the bill for securing the property to you.

If you tenant can't afford to pay for the damage (or insurance excess) then I would write them a letter agreeing to have the damage/costs deducted from their deposit and get it counter-signed by the tenant. If the tenant is not prepared to agree to that I would seriously consider eviction and claiming via the Small Claims Court. Other factors would, of course, be taken into consideration, e.g. how long the tenant has been there, payment history, any other problems etc.
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George Harrison

3 years ago

The boarding up fee is £95 and the police insist that I being the landlord am responsible for paying it then reclaiming back off the tenant. They go after the landlord/owner not the person who is living there. The tenant is in arrears at the moment so there is no way she will refund me. The bond wont cover all the damage and rent arrears outstanding so it looks like im out of pocket again. She has been issued with a section 21 notice but has told me I will have to take her to court to get her out

Romain Garcin

3 years ago

This issue comes up regularly, and what I have concluded so far is that the police is fishing when they claim that "I being the landlord am responsible for paying it then reclaiming back off the tenant. They go after the landlord/owner not the person who is living there".

Perhaps someone who has had actual experience will be able comment in details.

Mark Alexander

3 years ago

There is some very useful information in this thread >>> http://www.property118.com/police-damage-rental-property/65559/

In this case the police caused the damage but if you read all of the comments you will find plenty of gems from experienced landlords to have a go back at the police with.
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DC

3 years ago

The person who caused the damage is responsible for the cost of that and assuming the matter is going to Court a compensation form needs to be put on the prosecution file.

In respect of the boarding up that was arranged we assume you were not consulted about this and that the tenant gave her authority for her security and safety so she would be responsible in the first instance, however the police will try to pursue the most likely person to be able to stump up the costs.

If by chance the matter has already been formally dealt with and the compensation request was omitted I think a deal is in the offing! Insurance companies refer to this as knock for knock. If this is the case (no compensation claim made) I would take Mark's advice and make an insurance claim for all the costs and tell the police you will settle with them when you have been paid out.

David Asker

3 years ago

If you d go the eviction route then it is imperative to get an estimate of the timescales by the County Court Bailiff. If the timescales are over a month you may want to consider using an HCEO and if so YOU MUST include a request for this using Section 42 of the CCA 84 in any possession order.

Have a look here: http://thesheriffsoffice.com/articles/evicting-tenants-using-the-sheriffs-office-the-landlords-experience

In terms of the money charged by the Police as the previous posters suggest deducting it from deposit or claim through insurance is the obvious route. If it is just the £95 you may want to forego the Small Claims track in all honesty.

Gary Nock

3 years ago

Hi George

As an ex Old Bill Inspector I frequently had to deal with complaints on this. In a nutshell:

1.If its a lawful search Police have no legal obligation to pay compensation.
2. If its unlawful i.e the wrong address then normally after a few threats of trespass etc and no win no fee lawyers then they will pay up.
3. Where someone else commits the damage as in this case then the perpetrator is responsible. But if he is in prison then you have zero chance in getting your money back.
4. The police have secured the property following a domestic for £95. As Mark says it could be an insurance job particularly if theres a lot of damage. To be honest they could have called you out as the landlord and said "leave it with you mate" in which case you would have called somebody out to board it up and been liable for the cost anyway.

In such cases I would explain this to the landlord. It wasn't the police who caused the damage it was the offender. They have secured your property and protected it.For £95. This ain't a fortune in the scheme of things and is part and parcel of being a landlord these days. If you don't pay then ultimately the public purse does. You could refuse to pay on the grounds that they should have contacted you but you would have had the inconvenience of having to arrange it yourself- probably for a lot more money as the police get a discounted rate.

I think for £95 I would pay it George.

David Asker

3 years ago

Just one further thing to mention, if you did go the small claims route and it went to enforcement then you can enforce against the assets of the debtor even if he is in prison.

We recently seized and sold a rather nice Jaguar XF after the debtor went to spend 6 weeks at her Majesty's pleasure for a driving offence.

It really would need to be more than the £95 though as I mentioned earlier.

PHILIP PERSEVAL

3 years ago

Simply reuest immediate payment from social services OR eviction follows - sensibly they will pay . . .

r01

3 years ago

It's an amazingly low sum for calling someone out and securing the property. I presume the property is insured in your name and any claim will affect your next years premium.....

The tenant is responsible but is unlikely to pay. It is a tax deductible expense, so I'd just pay up and try to take it from the tenant's deposit, but as you'll have to evict, the deposit is probably all you are likely to get, together with a barrage of letters chasing unpaid debts. No rent, no end of tenancy clean, etc. I wouldn't even bother trying to claim anything other than the deposit as the cost of doing so will probably exceed whatever (if anything) you might get.

£95 is the least of your worries, I'd be more concerned what further damage the tenant herself will cause along with the string of new men she may now have visiting. If he is in prison, he clearly has other problems and sadly, many never seem to learn, they latch on to the same types over and over again.

R

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