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 Ian Ringrose

15:19 PM, 9th November 2016, About 5 years ago

However if a tenant is in a good job, the landlord can make them pay up sooner or later.

by Robert Mellors

19:19 PM, 9th November 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Andre Gysler" at "09/11/2016 - 14:23":

Hi Andre

Apart from being left a caravan, everything you've said about things tenants have done, has also happened to me, so I can wholeheartedly sympathise and empathise with you. Not only do landlords suffer these damages and loss of rent, but it is commonplace for Councils to aid and abet tenants to commit these crimes by telling them to stay in the property until the bailiffs arrive. The Councils that do this (most) then blatantly lie and deny giving this advice to the tenant. The police do nothing, as they view it as a civil matter, and/or they accept the tenant's excuses (e.g. I thought we could take all the furniture, the fridge was broken anyway so I got rid of it, the hole was in the door when I moved in but the landlord would not fix it, etc, etc, etc).

As for recovering the cost of the damages, this is impossible as the tenants are experts at passing the buck and avoiding liability, or they just move on every 6 months or whenever the debts start catching up with them. (or if they are benefit tenants then they have no assets anyway, so the law lets them do as they please with no penalty, we cannot even get a court order that tells the DWP to hand over £5 per week of their benefits until the debt is paid). - The law is a farce, it does not provide justice!

by Andre Gysler

19:55 PM, 9th November 2016, About 5 years ago

Quite frankly we got sick and tired of the Police fobbing it off as 'Civil' and told them to grow a pair!

by Jonathan Clarke

20:45 PM, 9th November 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Whiteskifreak Surrey" at "09/11/2016 - 14:39":

Andre`s tenants were criminals. And it is a horrific example I agree of horrendous tenant behaviour. But the fact they were LHA is not a valid reason not to rent to LHA. Some of my LHA tenants are model tenants. Some working tenants are criminals . LHA tenants can be 24hrs away from becoming a working tenant. Working tenants can be 24hrs away from becoming an LHA tenant. Their personality however doesn't change overnight. They will conduct their tenancy in the same manner more or less.

The fault often lies in poor tenant selection at the outset. This should never be left to an unknown untried and untested council official whose primary job description is to just clear their priority waiting list. They have a different skill set and a different focus. They are very unlikely to have the necessary interpersonal and interviewing skills required to select a quality tenant on a landlords behalf. To allow that very important job to be done by an unqualified probably disinterested person is I am afraid asking for trouble further down the line.

by Jonathan Clarke

20:57 PM, 9th November 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Alan Carey" at "09/11/2016 - 15:10":

I agree. There have been gradual signs that the council are changing their tune and coming back to me and seeing me as their saviour. A few years ago they were not very communicative and reluctant to engage with what they saw largely as the enemy . I would struggle to get rent in advance and a deposit for one of my LHA tenants from their DHP funding pot. Now they cant wait to hand it over to me . I have a product they really really want.

I have two recent example of sums of around £1400 being put into my bank account before the tenant has even signed the tenancy. One was before we had even bought the actual house. I can see them getting more and more generous. One London council offered me 3 mths rent in advance and they would also sort out some minor maintenance jobs for me at their expense as an additional sweetner . Its nice to feel loved again even if they just want me for my houses

by Andre Gysler

21:19 PM, 9th November 2016, About 5 years ago

Too little too late as far as I'm concerned. They left us paying the price so now they can. Plenty of gainfully employed tenants out there that will pass reference checks and allow me to take out rent guarantee insurance. Minimal risk and not subject to somebody's pressure of work determining whose side they are on.

Once bitten twice shy I'm afraid.

Think on Housing Services you only have yourselves to blame!

by Chris @ Possession Friend

17:27 PM, 11th November 2016, About 5 years ago

From Property Investor today ;

By Warren Lewis 11th November 2016
Tenants admit to taking everything including the kitchen sink from rental properties
Light-fingered tenants have owned up to taking televisions, boilers and even a king-sized bed from rented properties when the time has come to move house.

Figures from one insurer recently showed that 30% of renters believe it is reasonable to take things which don’t belong to them when they move house. But it isn’t just pots and pans going missing – with many of those surveyed admitting to taking fridges, televisions, wardrobes and even sofas with them when they moved.

More than 20% of those surveyed simply stated that “they wanted to take the items”. Other excuses included thinking the landlord wouldn’t notice, taking items accidently and forgetting that the item was not theirs.

Ajay Jagota from sales and lettings firm KIS, believes the figures are further evidence of the need for landlords and letting agents to move on from traditional rental deposits and instead use landlord insurance.

Ajay had this to say: “It’s not just a case of some tenants taking everything but the kitchen sink, in some cases they take that too. I’ve seen entire boilers and copper pipes taken from rental properties and heard of tenants helping themselves to the telly, a DVD player and even a king-sized bed. In that case, and I’m sure many others too, they also left the property in poor condition and owing their landlords hundreds of pounds in rent – so the deposit they left behind didn’t come close to covering the costs their landlord was left with.

These costs all add up – say £2000 for a boiler, £400 for a new bed and mattress, £250 for a new fridge-freezer, £150 for a decent-sized telly. And it’s the next tenants who will lose out when rents go up to pay for it all.

It’s yet another reason why landlords and letting agents need to rethink how they rent out homes. Not only does a deposit price good tenants out of your property, it clearly doesn’t deter the bad ones from stealing from you – or pay to put things right when they do. Deposit-free renting with comprehensive landlord insurance does. So why do any differently?”

by Old Mrs Landlord

18:13 PM, 11th November 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Chris Daniel" at "11/11/2016 - 17:27":

Chris, this is the research I quoted early in this thread but which now seems to have been deleted. Sadly, landlords seem to be fair game as far as many tenants are concerned as examples here illustrate, but of course there also many model tenants who respect their homes and those who provide them.

by Pamela Johnston

20:55 PM, 11th November 2016, About 5 years ago

In terms of expectations of Police Officers, I can absolutely guarantee tghe following;

1) They do not have knowledge of tenancy law as Police Officers (Individuals may but not because she / he is a Police Officer
2) They will not be able to give priority to your historic report of damage when there is a 'Grade 1' call, ie Incident / Crime in progress
3) They will not be asking to see evidence of the condition of a property when a tenant moved in.

That leaves us needing to pursue what is arguably criminal damages after the fact, probably as a civil matter, albeit armed with a Police Report which refers to the recency of the damage alongside our detailed inventory which hopefully includes photographs

by Dr Rosalind Beck

0:25 AM, 14th November 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Andre Gysler" at "09/11/2016 - 14:23":

Hi Andre.
We professional landlords have all had very difficult and stressful situations to deal with over the years, but I just wanted to say I am very sorry you had such horrendous and evil tenants and can only imagine the anger and upset that such treatment caused. As I always say in these situations, just remember: you are the good guy here and personally I would prefer to be the victim of this kind of shit than be the perpetrator. It is though a disgrace that we get no redress through the police. At the moment I am focused on the singular objective of getting s24 scrapped, but I think that once we get that done, we should have as part of our campaign getting the police to deal with criminal incidents against us in the same way that they would deal with theft, damage etc. if it were perpetrated against any other person other than a landlord. Best wishes to you and your family.

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