Judge To Look Into Why Tenants Are Not Prosecuted For Criminal Damage & Theft

by Mark Alexander

10:46 AM, 12th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Judge To Look Into Why Tenants Are Not Prosecuted For Criminal Damage & Theft

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Judge To Look Into Why Tenants Are Not Prosecuted For Criminal Damage & Theft

Judge To Look Into Why Tenants Are Not Prosecuted For Criminal Damage & Theft

On my flight from Malta to Heathrow last week I had the pleasure of sitting next to a gentleman who was a Judge and also worked for the Ministry of Justice to review the Court system.

We got talking about criminal damage so I asked him how many tenants he had fined or imprisoned for criminal damage to a landlords property during his career as a Judge.

He went quiet for a while, clearly deep in thought, but then had to admit that such a case had never been brought before him. Being naturally inquisitive I asked him why he thought that might be.

He had no answer.

The point I made was that if I were to smash his doors, windows, garage door etc. I would expect to be prosecuted. He agreed.

He also agreed that criminal damage is criminal damage regardless of whether the person committing the crime is a tenant of a landlord or not. We then went on to discuss theft of property from a landlords property by a tenant.

When I explained to him that Police and CPS regularly brush off theft from a landlord or criminal damage caused by a tenant as a “civil matter” he was clearly concerned and accepted that when tenants do commit such crimes they should be prosecuted. I’m not convinced he appreciates the scale of the problem though so I am asking you to provide some examples in the comments section below. I have the Judge’s contact details and he will be signed up to receive notification emails linking to your comments.

If he is true to his word (I have no reason to doubt that he won’t be) then our chance meeting could well prove to be a very useful one in terms of my quest for justice for landlords.



Comments

Luke P

12:15 PM, 12th October 2016
About 2 years ago

I have a (managed) property that the Police are to visit me today about. I have seen many a sight in properties, from drug use, cannabis factories, tenants taking the odd door off the hinges, to the downright filthy, but this one is different.

The tenant (presumably upon receiving his Court papers for Possession) has smashed up the house like no other I've come across before. Every single window cill has been hit repeatedly with a hammer, ever kitchen cupboard/drawer front has been slashed with a Stanley knife, there's holes 1m across been punched through studded walls...clearly intentional damage.

Normally I fix the problems without involving the authorities, but this one I have called the Police about (particularly as he's currently still living there...though not for many more days).

They called yesterday to arrange a meeting today, but during the phone call I get the sense they are already preparing to deflect this one. They were asking about how often it the property has been inspected (suggesting it would have to be in the order of weekly/fortnightly to carry any weight) and how do I *know* it was the tenant and not someone else. SIGH!

I shall report back after our meeting at 4pm today, but I don't expect to get anywhere (it makes you wonder why we bother to have the Police).

Mark Alexander

14:57 PM, 12th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "12/10/2016 - 12:15":

Good luck Luke, sounds like you are going to need it!

Is the landlord insured for malicious damage caused by tenants?
.

Luke P

15:43 PM, 12th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "12/10/2016 - 14:57":

They are indeed, Mark. I arranged the local landlords insurance block policy with exceptional terms to include items such as this, but have encouraged the landlord to pursue the tenant in the first instance, out of morality if nothing else.

I'm hoping the Police don't write it off as a 'civil' matter. We shall see come 4:30pm (assuming they keep their appointment).

Luke P

15:53 PM, 12th October 2016
About 2 years ago

So they arrived early. And as you can no doubt tell it was disappointingly very short and not all that sweet.

Unless they can get someone to say they actually saw the tenant causing the damage himself, all he would have to say in an interview is that he had a party, his mates caused the damage but he's not willing to identify 'his mates', that is the end of the 'beyond all reasonable doubt' argument and the end of the road for the Police, so they tell me.

Surely he has some reckless culpability for 'allowing his mates' to 'cause' the damage (even if that were the case), particularly as he's still living there as of today and hasn't reported this to the authorities himself?

MoodyMolls

8:27 AM, 13th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Once I managed to get the Police in to a house the tenant was still living in to see if I could have them under criminal damage. All bannisters broken cielings down basin ripped from wall.

Dog mess everywhere, they said they could do anything as the tenant might repair it all before they leave.

Another one hammer to floor tiles upvc door smashed in cupboards smashed axe in door, the police I feel sorry for you.

The chances of getting any money from these people is zero I think the law should be changed so the government pay and reclaim from the tenants.

The latest one I am evicting tenant waiting for court, own an annexe next door. Builders have been working redecorating etc. A 10 litre paint pot was flung all over the patio doors then a bag of grit was mixed with it. Footsteps from the patio doors straight into the porch of the tenants house next door.
Forensic came out for footprints. It took the police 3 weeks to contact me by which time any paint on a shoe would be no more. About 2 weeks after that they visit the tenants and request the son comes down for questioning. I get a message last night that the son turned up with stepdad who is saying he was with him all night and is willing to stand in court with this. They said the footprint did not match the trainer he was wearing surprise surprise case closed.

I know the son done it but cant prove it currently they are all living rent free in my property until I can evict via courts. No chance of any money she as already told me she is going to pay £90 and hve all her debts wiped.

The government want tenants so callled to be responsible thats why they have to have the rent benefit via UC direct but let them get away scot free on areas like this.

If it was council tax they would be hounded and the money directly lifted from their back account.

There is no deterent they know they can just walk away

David Price

8:33 AM, 13th October 2016
About 2 years ago

I could fill this blog with hundreds of examples of tenants causing deliberate damage but will confine myself to one example and the police response. On a warm, calm summers evening a tenant had a blazing row with his partner which resulted in the front door and frame being dislodged from the wall. The frame was pushed four inches (100 mm) forwards. The police attended, called by the neighbours, and said that because there was a contract in place (AST) it was not Criminal Damage, rather a civil case. In any event the tenant had maintained that it was a gust of wind from an open window that had slammed the door and caused the damage.
Thus began the nine month process of eviction during which more damage was done and very little rent paid.
The criminal Damage Act is very clear on the very first page, ANY deliberate damage is criminal even if it is by you to your own property; don't throw a vase at your partner for if it breaks you have committed a criminal offence. I have been told that there are special dispensations which allow, for instance, legitimate demolition of a building.

Mick Roberts

8:41 AM, 13th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Brilliant simple to understand words, from what is actually happening & what isn't happening with tenants being made to be responsible for their 'crimes'.
Yes the Govt don't think they should be responsible enough to be prosecuted for damage, yet think they are responsible enough to be given hundreds/thousands of pounds in Housing Benefit & Universal credits (UC) payments MONTHLY! Which current statistics are something like 70% of UC tenants are in arrears.

Here's some damage over the years to some of mine-Has anyone ever been prosecuted? No, Zero!!!

https://youtu.be/i_HKaqYlHi4 Tenants from Hell Bulwell.

https://youtu.be/OzqVVRlZzE8 Tenants from Hell Bestwood Park

https://youtu.be/QcENHbgfMR4 Tenants from Hell Top Valley Nov 2010

https://youtu.be/_UvO8dmxGQQ Tenants from Hell May 12th 2010.

https://youtu.be/DzRIyfLHRn0 Tenants from Hell May 10th 2010.

The rest are on http://www.youtube.com/mickroberts2006

I han't done any for years. There has been lots more, as soon as I get time, I am going to dedicated page for it.

Luke P

8:56 AM, 13th October 2016
About 2 years ago

So it seems the reason this Judge hasn't seen any cases is because the Police/CPS don't put the cases forward.

Ian Ringrose

9:00 AM, 13th October 2016
About 2 years ago

The problem is the tenant JUST has to say, I went out and left the door open and it was like this when I came back. Then the police cannot PROVE the tenant did it.

Until the criminal law says that a tenant must report any damage done by someone else to the police and must take care of the property, there is little chance in the tenant every losing a criminal case.

The laws was charged with child abuse a few years ago, so a parent is now responsible for stopping their child getting abused, even if the police cannot prove witch of the two parents did it. At present if the tenant tells the police the boyfriend may have done the damage and the boyfriend says the tenant may have done the damage, once again, the tenant will win any criminal case.

MoodyMolls

9:15 AM, 13th October 2016
About 2 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "David Price" at "13/10/2016 - 08:33":

This post as just reminded me of another

Domestic boyfriend and girlfriend , Boyfriend kicks front door in to attack girlfriend police as called boyfriend arrested , girl and child taken to safe house.

I dont know anything about this until a bill arrives from a company that boarded up the house.
It happened at 2 in the morning the Police called out this firm 40 miles away to make safe.

I argued with the firm although it was not really there fault and I ended up paying the 250.00

I wrote to the Wiltshire Police Chief , who said I should have been informed and the Policeman will be spoken to but they would not pay the money from the Police funds .

They had the boyfriend in court but as no one mentioned the damage nothing was said regarding it to the judge. I did kick up a stink but all I got was an apology and a bill.

If he had smashed every window that bill would have been in the thousands

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