Do I pay for boarding-up after police force entry?

Do I pay for boarding-up after police force entry?

15:51 PM, 17th March 2022, About 2 months ago 9

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I’ve got a flat that was empty for a few weeks as the tenants went on holiday. A neighbour on the second floor hadn’t seen them for a while…and thought he could smell something from my flat. He contacted the agents who look after the block at about 10:30pm. Unwilling to wait for a response, he called the police.

They arrived shortly after and without talking to anyone, smashed the front door literally in two with their “red key”. No looking round, no calling at neighbours to see if they knew where they were…just straight in. The tenants are now being hassled for £210 by the company who made the door “secure”.

It’s nothing to do with the tenants, and naturally, they’re worried. [Incidentally, I’ve no idea where they got the tenant’s name from – looking round the flat?] As the landlord, it obviously falls on me to sort this out.

I do appreciate the company coming out and doing the work. However, I have no contract with these people and don’t want to pay it – I’ve already had a big bill for a new door, locks etc which I deem was unnecessary (the smell according to neighbours was because it was bins day, and we’re on the GF). This cost is adding insult to injury (btw I’ve complained to the police saying they didn’t exercise a duty of care/did no due diligence). I’ve contacted the security company to ask them to stop chasing my tenants…and they say they will pursue them to court to get their money.

In a past life, I worked for a glazing company and the police would call us out to make temporary repairs after break-ins. We’d bill the owner but ultimately would write-off the balance as we did work they didn’t ask for.

That was about 25 years ago now, so things may have changed since then.

Has anyone gone through this before? Any advice on what I should do?

Thanks in advance.

Neil



Comments

by Gary Nock

17:01 PM, 17th March 2022, About 2 months ago

Okay. So entry was probably made under Section 17(1)(e) Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. Saving life or limb or preventing serious damage to property. Reasonable force can be used and the attending officers should have filled out a search register. So there's a smell- either a dead body - tenant not seen for a few weeks - or gas, or sewage leak, or in this case- rubbish.

In these circumstances it's a lawful entry and search. Unlike some cases where the police break in the wrong door, it's highly unlikely you would have a civil claim against the police.I dealt with loads of these in a previous life.

You may be able to claim against the freeholders block insurance for the flat, and the invoice for making the property secure can be passed onto them. The boarding up company should be told that they are pursuing a debt against a person (the tenants) who are not liable. The Administration of Justice Act 1970 S. 40 makes it a Criminal Offence for a creditor or a creditor's agent (often a debt collection agency) to make demands (for money), which are aimed at causing 'alarm, distress or humiliation'.

Hope this helps.

by David Price

12:27 PM, 18th March 2022, About 2 months ago

Ignore all demands, these companies will try to get money from anyone, I have even had bills sent to neighbours. Their claim will fail in court because they have not contract with anyone, and they know this and so will not take anyone to court.

by Dylan Morris

12:43 PM, 18th March 2022, About 2 months ago

Who asked the company to make the door secure ? Did your tenants phone them ? If not who did ? I’d say whoever asked them to come and attend to the broken door needs to pay as they’ve requested the service.

by Jonathan Clarke

3:53 AM, 19th March 2022, About 2 months ago

The police after entry ( providing its lawful which it probably was for reasons stated ) have a legal duty to secure the property afterwards . They have to try and contact the owner first though but if not or they cant respond in an efficient time frame they can call out what they call is `an agent of necessity ` to board it up . This is someone who can turn up 24/7 as the police are busy people but have a duty to stay there to protect an insecure property till someone turns up so even if they get hold of the owner they have to be able to respond straight away. If not its the 24/7 crew . The bill should not be sent to the tenant but they often try that route first to tease out where the owner lives if the tenant knows and if not may use what may or may not be the right address on the land registry details. The block insurers probably wont be interested as its a legal entry as opposed to an intruder entry and they will likely have minimal cover which wont cover that but its worth a call to find out.
I`ve had two of these and in both cases successfully got the police to pay the bill as they didn`t make any effort to call me first and i argued that in both cases they could have phoned me and i would have been able to respond immediately. I had to retrieve the police log which had my number on supplied by the tenant after a drugs raid . So they had no excuses and my phoned had no missed calls on it from them at the time
The whole set up and ` customer` after care is often incredibly poorly managed . I had two bills just land on my doorstep one day without any explanation as to why I had received them or what it was all about
But hey ho we have alas long past the days of Dixon of Dock Green when if a job was worth doing it was worth doing well . Jack Warner RIP

by Dave Stanger

13:09 PM, 19th March 2022, About 2 months ago

So I had this "vulnerable tenant" provided to me by the local authority (read aggressive alcoholic) would get drunk call 999 and hide behind the sofa. Emergency services attend cant get an answer and hence police break down the door, take tenant off to A&E to sober up. Each time this happens I send the police the invoice for the boarding up as they dont contact me and send the invoice for the broken door frame+door to "court of protection" who manage the tenant's finances. This has now happened FOUR times in two years.

Tenant basically wrecked the flat so when they moved on to a care home I had the whole flat refurbished and sent the invoices to "court of protection" for the tenant to pay. Total cost to the tenant was £19 000.

by Jessie Jones

20:46 PM, 19th March 2022, About 2 months ago

As Dylan says, the Police asked the boarding company to attend, so the contract was between them.
In respect of the damage to the door, the Police may well have been acting lawfully, but they still have a duty of care. Did they even knock next door to see if the neighbour had a spare key? If they refuse to pay up for the damage, take them to the small claims court. Acting lawfully does not give them a free ride to smash other people's property.

by Jonathan Clarke

4:03 AM, 22nd March 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jessie Jones at 19/03/2022 - 20:46
There is complex case law around this which says the contract is not between the police and the contractor even though the police called them in . The contractor as the agent of necessity is acting independently on arrival and decides under various criteria whether to then act on behalf and in the interest of the owner. If they fulfil that criteria then it is a legal action and they are entitled to a restitutionary claim from the owner

by Jessie Jones

7:57 AM, 22nd March 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jonathan Clarke at 22/03/2022 - 04:03
Thank you Jonathan, I've certainly learned something there.

by Jonathan Clarke

15:53 PM, 22nd March 2022, About 2 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Jessie Jones at 22/03/2022 - 07:57
You're welcome

In 2015 I learnt a lot about their processes and became like a dog with a bone after being given the run around . I went through 3 different ascending ranks in the police`s complaints department fending off waffle after waffle. I was eventually referred to their legal department and a young bright spark of a lawyer rang me up . I was expecting some legal spiel to stop my complaint in its tracks but I was delighted and surprised when he said . No no no Mr Clarke you are clearly right I`m sorry you've been given the runaround it should have been paid at stage 1 of your complaint . Send me your bank details and I will authorise reimbursement today . My faith was restored !

I`ve done similar over the years with probation service /health authorities / and the council are the worst I find . Its become a bit of a hobby I guess .

My conclusion is that often many of the grass roots staff know really very little ( not always their fault ) . And if you stick to what you believe is right and are not put off by their often overbearing self important tactics - you can get justice . I remain patient respectful and diplomatic and systematically like to unpick their often flawed reasoning.


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