Freeholder playing hardball breaking bicycle locks!

by Readers Question

9:24 AM, 5th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Freeholder playing hardball breaking bicycle locks!

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Freeholder playing hardball breaking bicycle locks!

I have two flats in a 1930’s block of 120 ish. The Freeholders have given less than 24 hours notice (I don’t know how the notice was served as I heard nothing and neither did my tenants) to remove bikes from an area historically used as a bike store. There is a policy in place with the management company and permits have been issued – not all the bike users have subscribed to this. The reasons given by the Freeholders is that it is the Fire Service that has instructed this – they haven’t provided any proof and having spoken to them (Fire people) they say that they haven’t issued the information.bicycle locks

The bikes were removed by the Porter and are now elsewhere, as it is holiday time many residents had no idea this was happening and I only knew from the residents association and I’m not sure how they found out – probably from the porter.

Couple of questions – the locks have been broken to remove the bikes, can this legally happen and having issued a permit to be there how can the management then give hours notice to remove and not provide another space.

We have been told that now the bikes have been removed they cannot be replaced.

The residents are at odds with the Freeholders for various issues – and are making the move to buy the Freehold, I’d sat that this is just the Freeholder throwing out distractions, it just adds to the list.

Many thanks

Elizabeth



Comments

Neil Patterson

9:33 AM, 5th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Dear Elizabeth,

This does not sound reasonable at all !

I would personally call the council and the police first to see what they advise as I am at a loss with this sort of extreme behavior.

Ian Narbeth

11:27 AM, 5th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Without giving adequate notice to remove the bikes from the area, breaking the locks may be criminal damage. It is one thing if someone chains their bike to a railing with a warning notice already on it. Quite another in this context. Good luck with getting the police to take notice.

Mike

12:27 PM, 5th September 2016
About 2 years ago

technically they have stolen your bikes, no matter what, as they had no owner's permission. report this to police and say you did not receive any notice addressed to you or anyone, so bikes were taken illegally. let the freeholders face a criminal theft charge.

When i worked for a company and was given a company car, the company went broke, and owed me lot of money, almost 6 times more money than their company car they gave me , when the receivers came in to wind up the company, they asked all employees or sub-contractors to hand company possessions back, so asked me for the company car's keys, I refused to hand them because the company had owed me a lot of money in the form of deferred wages and other sums of money I spent on helping the company buy materials to finish of pending jobs, so that jobs could be completed and money may come in to pay me off my rest of the money.

But the receivers threatened to call the police and report that I had stolen the car, as I would be using it without their authorisation now that they were in charge, so basically fearing the law, i had to hand them back the keys and swallow more insults!

Ian Narbeth

12:50 PM, 5th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Sorry Mike
It is not necessarily theft. Section 1 of the Theft Act 1968 says: "A person is guilty of theft if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it; and “thief” and “steal” shall be construed accordingly."

All of the ingredients of the offence need to be met including crucially "the intention of permanently depriving" the owner. Unless the freeholders are saying nobody can have their bikes back I very much doubt a theft charge will stick.

Gary Nock

13:43 PM, 5th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Ian is right. Theft seems simple but it's not. There are various definitions of "dishonestly appropriates" and "permanently deprive" that on the face of it would never get past the CPS. As an ex police officer the theft side of it would be written off as a civil matter. And even the criminal damage to the locks is not straightforward. If they are enforcing a covenant in the lease to remove the bikes then they may well have a criminal defence.

Gary Nock

13:48 PM, 5th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Criminal Damage Act 1971

A person who without lawful excuse destroys or damages any property belonging to another intending to destroy or damage any such property or being reckless as to whether any such property would be destroyed or damaged shall be guilty of an offence.

The key clause is "without lawful excuse" Enforcing a covenant or a Fire Safety matter can be construed as a "lawful excuse"

Gary Nock

13:52 PM, 5th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Check if Managing Agents are members of ARMA or RICS who both have Codes of Practice for removal of goods. Normally 14 days with a notice placed on the item. Raise a complaint with the Managing Agent and threaten to take it to ARMA or RICs if not resolved.

Ian Narbeth

14:16 PM, 5th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Nock" at "05/09/2016 - 13:48":

You are right Gary which is why I qualified my remarks about the criminal damage charge and was not sure the police will be interested. Whoever cut the locks will probably say: "I was told/assumed/understood that adequate notice had been given" and may "manufacture" a defence that way.

Mike

15:37 PM, 5th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Thanks Ian & Gary, law can be very difficult to interpret, so having said this, does this give me the right if someone parks their car blocking my drive and that i can break their door lock or a side window to gain access to the car and drop the handbrake and push the car out of my drive's way? especially when i have sign saying "Do not block the drive, or your vehicle may be moved away"

Gary Nock

16:50 PM, 5th September 2016
About 2 years ago

Mike see the extract from the CPS website. I don't think breaking the car window because it is blocking your drive would be lawful excuse:

"Meaning of Without Lawful Excuse
Section 5 of the Act gives examples of actions that would constitute a lawful excuse and thus a defence to criminal damage charges, though not to aggravated criminal damage under Section 1(2). You must be aware of these, particularly in relation to the defences likely to be raised by motorists damaging wheel clamps.

A motorist who damages a wheel clamp to free his car, having parked on another's property knowing of the risk of being clamped, does not have a lawful excuse under the Act: see Lloyd v DPP [1992] 1 All ER 982 ; R v Mitchell 2004 RTR 14 CA.

Section 5(2) defines lawful excuse where there is belief in consent or belief in the immediate necessity to protect property. Section 5(3) emphasises that the belief is subjective and must be honestly held"

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