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

10:46 AM, 12th October 2016, About 5 years ago 164

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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.


by Neil Robb

21:57 PM, 17th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Alan Carey" at "17/10/2016 - 21:32":

Here in Northern Ireland you contact the Police ombudsman but first ask duty Sgt or inspector how to put in formal complaint. Then be prepared to follow through.
I had an incident in Scotland first police woman very helpful then came along a very experienced officer who decided to fob me off.
I asked his name and number which he did not want to give but did eventually. I then asked the definition of theft. He then waffled I explained it was to permanently deprive the rightful owner of their possession's. He then asked for receipts unfortunately I could only come up with a few.
Result tenant convicted of theft wasting police time and faking a burglary. Unfortunately I was only awarded £200 compensation which I just got the last bit this would not cover what was stolen.
As a result this person was hoping to get their children back from social services now has a convictions

by Michael Fickling

22:04 PM, 17th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Theft or deception is a more complex offence than simple malicous criminal damage. It requires a dishonest intent etc If a person obtains something ( including money) intending to steal it..at the time they appropriate it..thats straight up theft..or if they deceive someone in order to get it and have the intention of dishonestly keeping it..permanently thats also generally theft and also criminal deception.A person can appropriate something "later" having got it innocently but pursuing this around a benefits case would be awkward.
The problem with a benefits payment is they would usually have some sort of up front right to have it..and when and how they decide to "permanently" deprive the proper owner...and what represents the property itself etc .. can be awkward.It gets a bit too technical really for a web site like this. But criminal and obviously deliberate damage is straight up arrestable.There shouldnt be a problem in such cases being pursued.

by David Price

22:42 PM, 17th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "michael fickling" at "17/10/2016 - 22:04":

Are you the reincarnation of Lord Denning?

by Chris @ Possession Friend

23:46 PM, 17th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Alan Carey" at "17/10/2016 - 21:36":

You simply telephone the Police, ask for and take name of who your speaking with, saying you want to make a formal complaint against the Police.
Usually an Inspector ( can sometimes be a Sergeant ) will contact you and you should receive a written response.
If your not happy with this, you can appeal to the Independent Police Complaints Commission - see their web site

by Lisé Willcox

19:45 PM, 18th October 2016, About 5 years ago

No offence taken. If your ever in Somerset come try the chilli chocolate and cider sausages! As for the pension ... Well that's another story.... ?
Returning to Marks original post though ...having discussed it with policing friends is really a matter of applying common sense....

You can get insurance for most damage but you need to weigh up the long term effect on your no claims record. You can involve the police, but unless your tenant admits it then I see no point.
Let me tell you a little sorry story so that you may see I'm not joking... I have mentioned my injury and here is the lesson I learnt about 'Men's Rea' or 'intent'..for criminal damage and some other offences you must prove intent for criminal charges, the CPS and then possibly a jury have to be convinced of the mental intention, an 'act' alone is simply not enough in a criminal court... For example a dog in a LOCKED HOT car... The intent is to save its life, therefore smashing the window is not criminal damage. However for myself I arrested (while alone) a fleeing drunk driver.. The driver I did detain...but got ferociously assaulted ... It really was a bad shift indeed! he was never prosecuted because he declared due to the alcohol he could not recall what happened. FACT with no witness it was down to only my word, and that be ot enough for a charge. The assault was dropped by the CPS, l had a back fusion... And eventually retired. Enough said. The CPS insist on high guilty probability 'beyond all reasonable doubt'. The civil route is ok if the offender has an income and the burden of proof is easier 'balance of probabilities'. My varied life experiences have led me to move fast on repairs, make regular checks, compromise with kids, (recently had a 5 year boy old pee in a socket...(bless) so a little payment plan there, thank goodness socket was safe! I kind of negotiate, or basically repair and bite the bullet, it's annoying but court I guarantee ain't fun either.... I wish you luck with one of the most frustrating aspects of our profession...
Off to make marmalade Pork sausages!! ?

by Luke P

10:53 AM, 20th October 2016, About 5 years ago

In case you're interested in my particular case, please see the photos at the following link. You can clearly see the malicious intent in these images...


The Police just met me there and despite using the words forum member 'michael fickling' suggested, they were extremely reluctant to record it as a crime. One officer did not want to give her FIN (collar number) as it, 'wasn't her investigation'. They told me photographing by CSI was a 'waste of time' and they've seen worse (whilst I have also seen properties in a worse state from the point of drugs paraphernalia/rotting rubbish with rats running round etc.), I have not seen more conscious, deliberate damage, which is separate to just generally scruffy tenants.

by Robert Mellors

11:22 AM, 20th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "20/10/2016 - 10:53":

Hi Luke

I do hope the judge will look at these photos and explain how the legal system allows tenants to do such damage and get away with it, time and time again, to the point that police are reluctant to even record it as a crime. This is not a civil matter, it is not excessive wear and tear or accidental damage, it is very clearly malicious criminal damage, it is a crime and should be recorded and investigated as such, and the tenants should be held accountable for their actions!

by Luke P

11:27 AM, 20th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Robert Mellors" at "20/10/2016 - 11:22":

Thanks Rob,

As a 100+ portfolio landlord with over 25 years experience in the lower end of the socio-economic scale of BTL, I have seen a lot. What is beyond doubt here is the intent and why I used this particular example for this thread. I have countless stories of filthy tenants, but despite the levels of damage, have a degree of ambiguity about them...the case in the photographs is clear to anyone (except the Police). He's gone to the extent of ripping off skirting/door frames/architraving..!

Proving it is their job through the powers of investigation -perhaps I'd get a result, perhaps not but none of us will ever know unless they try...which they aren't bothered about.

The tenant (one I inherited) is well-known to the Police is on bail for assault and to be frank, needs keeping away from the public as I strongly believe he is mentally unstable and poses a serious risk to the community.

by Robert Mellors

11:34 AM, 20th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "20/10/2016 - 11:27":

I don't have as many properties as you, but I do deal with the same socio-economic groups, and I do get similar damage sometimes, and the same sort of response from the police.

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