Damage caused by tenants ex – who pays?

by Readers Question

9:54 AM, 22nd October 2014
About 5 years ago

Damage caused by tenants ex – who pays?

Make Text Bigger
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

16:24 PM, 22nd October 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Nock" at "22/10/2014 - 14:12":

Hi Gary

In this instance the police didn't cause the damage, it was the ex-husband who broke in.

I suspect the tenant called the police and they subsequently arranged the boarding up for security purposes.
.

Gary Nock

17:02 PM, 22nd October 2014
About 5 years ago

Hi Mark

Yes I was aware that it was the tenants ex part er who caused tbe damage. I merely used the other parts 1-3 as a bit of a preamble to the rest of the post. The key thing is that the police do have a responsibility to secure the property. If they did not and it got broke into again then they could be held liable. So its either tell the occupier and leave it in their hands or board it up. Leaving it unsecure, no matter what the cause, if the police have had any contact with the property it ends up being their fault. Better to board it up and have to chase someone for £95 than leave it insecure and it gets set fire to.

George Harrison

17:11 PM, 22nd October 2014
About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Nock" at "22/10/2014 - 17:02":

That's not my argument. I believe the police should have sent the bill to the tenant not myself as she was the person who was living at the property, she was the one that called the police and the damage was caused when she wouldn't let her ex boyfriend in to see his child

Gary Nock

23:40 PM, 22nd October 2014
About 5 years ago

Well George lets think about this logically. I will go through some of the police thought processes which led to you getting the bill...rightly or wrongly.

Q. Who caused the damage?
Who in law is liable for the damage?

A. The boyfriend. Who is in prison. So when a custodial sentence or remand is used in practice compensation is rarely awarded.

Q. Did the tenant cause the damage?

A. No.

Q. So what basis in law can she be held responsible?

A. She is a tenant. So anything that happens to that property within or outside her control is her fault and legally enforceable within the terms of her tenancy agreement, the civil and criminal law.

Well try that on in the Small Claims Court!.

Who is more likely to pay the bill? The tenant who is a victim of domestic violence or the landlord who owns the property. While it seems straightforward to bill the tenant, both politically (with a small "p" ) and legally it's on a sticky wicket. Imagine the newspaper headline "woman subjected to domestic abuse by ex partner gets billed for damage by police" (or landlord) Not good PR.

Romain Garcin

8:39 AM, 23rd October 2014
About 5 years ago

I think that who is ultimately responsible to pay for the damage is the ex. But it could be the tenant depending on the details.

However George's question is rather whether he has any liability for the bill the police issues because they decided to secure the house by boarding it.
From previous discussions on the issue, it seems that the answer is 'probably not'.

That said George should consider 2 things:
1. If the police hadn't boarded the house he would have had to do it, and or to have it done.
2. £95 seems very reasonable (though we do not know the extent of the work).

As such the simplest route may be to just bundle the £95 with the cost of the repair then to claim the whole from the insurance, or the ex, or the tenant in general.

Regarding the 'details' above: If the ex is no longer a joint tenant and just showed up and kicked the door (for example) then the current tenant is not liable for anything.
But if he was a guest the current tenant might still be liable to the landlord.

Steve From Leicester

12:14 PM, 23rd October 2014
About 5 years ago

Here's my take.

The tenant is not responsible for the criminal actions of a third party which results in damage to YOUR property. (NB the reverse is true too - you're not liable if, for example a third party breaks in and nicks your tenants TV, because that is HER property and her responsibility).

In this case its unquestionably your property which has been damaged by a third party and the fact that the third party in this case happened to be the tenant's former partner and a former tenant is irrelevant. Your post makes it clear that the chap hasn't been a tenant since May 2014.

The police were right to bill you because its your house and its your property which they had an urgent obligation to make secure.

You could have a pop at claiming it back from the tenant but I think its unlikely to succeed because she didn't cause the damage. You'd probably win a claim in the Small Claims Court against the bloke who caused the damage, but it would be a hollow victory as the chap is in prison and likely to have little or nothing in the way of assets

It may not seem fair. Life sometimes isn't.

Recardo Knights

14:16 PM, 23rd October 2014
About 5 years ago

My tenant and their family were on holiday when a break in happened on a summer bank holiday at night, on a weekend. The police called at about 10pm to let me know. On arrival the front door was totally DISTROYED and lying on the floor. they had called out a 24 hr company to board it up, this cost me £175. They placed corrugated metal over the front door opening and said it was secure.

The family were due back on a Wednesday, it was a bank holiday Friday and Monday. I contacted the insurance co on Monday (luckily the office was open), I was told to get 3 estimates they would then send round an assessor to see the damage, this would take about a week. I asked if when the family returned in 2 days time would the insurance pay to put them in a hotel until every one had taken a look, estimates were received and forwarded to them.

They would not comment, so I said if I took the pictures and sorted the problem by fitting a new front door, would the pay out. I was told if I took any action myself before an assort came I could not claim.

I shopped around and found a front door and fitted it on Tuesday. The secure boarding up was removed in 5 minutes with my cordless drill!. I then got 3 estimates to fit a new front door and remove the rubbish, the cheapest was for £850. By the time this would have been submitted to the insurance 2-3 weeks would have past.

I then put in a claim for labour and materials with copies of the bills for £750, and they paid me £550. They paid for the cost of the door, new locks and hinges listed on my invoice, and the money I paid for the emergency boarding. The fact that no one else could have done the job on such short notice did not matter, don't know what my position would have been if the tenants and 4 kids returned from holiday (about 9pm) and could not enter the house would have been, would I have had to pay for a hotel. Mark of his legal friend should have an answer for future reference.

I saved the insurance a lot of money by doing the job for free, but for the next 3 years the claim had to be noted on all my properties, and I'm sure it cost me more in premiums. A claim on 1 property goes on all renewals on your portfolio.

My advice pay the £85 and evict the tenant. The ex may be out soon so more damage may be to come.

Eviction Group

13:13 PM, 24th October 2014
About 5 years ago

You will probably get the gist by the other posts that it is the Tenant who is the liable party. However if the you count up the hours of your life you will never get back spent in arguments with T and the police, is it worth £95?
IMO pay, claim of the insurance if the damage is significant. Then make her wish come true and issue proceedings as a follow up on Sect 21notice.

Gary Nock

13:44 PM, 24th October 2014
About 5 years ago

My sentiments exactly on this. £95. Hardly worth the paperwork.

Industry Observer

11:30 AM, 25th October 2014
About 5 years ago

I've had experience of this and agree with all the interesting and knowledgeable comments that have been made.

Just an angle on the last few from Romain, Gary and Recardo.

First to say that it is the ex and irrelevant is wrong and here as an example are two cases I've had.

First nasty and expensive to remove graffiti on a house put there by 'friends' of the tenant's son and legal advice said it could well be the tenant held liable (had the son provoked them and brought it on themselves?) but not if perpetrators unknown to them.

In another case a tenant valiantly tried to protect the property when two total strangers were doing something personal and nasty against his side wall after a night's drinking. He remonstrated with them, they broke in the back gate, and then the patio door, and gave him a beating. Tenant innocent but legal advice was had they been known to him he may have been guilty.

So in this case George says the reason for the break in was her refusal to let him see his son. If he had no right to he is guilty, but if he did have the right to then she may be for refusing him his rights.

See what I mean?

Pity it wasn't the Police causing damage there is a wonderful very ancient Act (older than the Distress for Rent one I think) that you can quote to get your money out of the Chief Comnstable. Can't remember it exactly I know I have it somewhere Gary do you know what it is?

1 2 3 4

Leave Comments

Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.

Forgotten your password?

OR

BECOME A MEMBER

PRA stress tests and the benefits of incorporation - With Kate Faulkner

The Landlords Union

Become a Member, it's FREE

Our mission is to facilitate the sharing of best practice amongst UK landlords, tenants and letting agents

Learn More