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 Anne Noon

12:31 PM, 13th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Case 2 - after having repaired the damage by the previous tenant I employed yet another letting agent, who did properly tenant check the new tenants and they passed the check. They wanted to have a dog and I gave them permission as long as the dog was not allowed upstairs.

They, too proceeded to wreck the property and went into arrears. One day they did a runner and when I returned to the property, it was apparent that the dog had been allowed to run amok in the house it stank of dog urine and faeces. The decking outside was covered in faeces ( it took my guys two days to clean it up) Despite super-duper cleaning services I could not get rid of the smell of the dog. I had to have all the carpets - including the underlay replaced (which had already been replaced after he other tenant's damage). I had to take up all the wooden flooring downstairs, as the pee had seeped thought the joint and into the underlay there as well. This entailed taking off the doors, taking off the skirting door, and replacing everything, re-adjusting the doors to fit. Again about £10,000 of damage plus £10,000 of lost rent. Once again all my ccj's against them have died out and I understand I can no longer go after them to get the money back.

I could go on at length about the damage caused by my tenants - one group of tenants threatened to take me to Environmental Health because of the condition of the house , which was caused by their neglect ; another decided she didn't need to pay the last month's rent because "you earn so much money out of this house, why should I pay you", one man begged me to let his single son move into one of my rooms - the son then proceeded to terrorise the other tenants - cutting buttons off shirt, the wires off a razor and lots of other little things - when I tried to evict him, he went to the Council and pleaded his rights. Eventually he left and I agreed to give him his deposit back - we met by the roadside in the town, I was talking to him and he was still being threatening , but I stood my ground. Out of the corner of my eye I watched a Traffic Warden write and rewrite a parking ticket on the next car as he watched what was going on. I was very pleased that he was there!!

All in all, I have over £60000 of ccj's against tenants and Leasehold Tenants and have not received a penny back, save for the Leasehold tenant who did not respond to any of my correspondence for 6 years - I received my money back when he tried to sell the property. That's another BTL lost and I paid out large sums of money in credit card interest to keep my businesses afloat.

by matchmade

13:06 PM, 13th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Anne Noon" at "13/10/2016 - 12:31":

I would love the Ministry of Justice to do a survey of how many CCJs against tenants actually result in any money being paid to landlords. What is the point of a CCJ when it is so easily evaded? All a tenant has to do is claim they are self-employed - so no earning deductions are possible - and put their assets in the name of someone else, and the poor landlord has no chance of ever receiving any money. And then even if the landlord does identify assets or earnings, all the tenant has to do is declare themselves bankrupt, and all his or her debts will be cleared after a year.

I would prefer a system in which CCJ debts are notified to HMRC and collection is sought through the general taxation system, perhaps by reducing the debtor's tax allowance. I'd be perfectly happy to HMRC a collection fee for their administration costs for this service.

by David Price

13:22 PM, 13th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Don Holmes" at "13/10/2016 - 11:14":

No you could not make it up. There have been many similar instances, my rent collector was arrested for collecting rent and accused of embezzlement for attempting to extract £10 top up from a tenant. He was also accused of writing threatening letters, an accusation which was easy to refute firstly because the police could not produce any of the letters and secondly because he is dyslexic and has the greatest difficulty in even writing his name. He was not charged but the investigation and confiscation of computer and mobile phone lasted a couple of months.

by Michael Fickling

15:15 PM, 13th October 2016, About 5 years ago

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

I can give some very solid advice on the more serious tenant damage and theft scenarios ...and the activation of a more appropriate police response .Dont use it for a broken door handle please... or a missing loo roll holder..DO use it for more serious stuff and dont be embarassed to do so its your right......Getting a crime recorded is KEY!!!
Understand the importance of saying and insisting>>to the police as follows.
..say this... "I would like to report a crime of criminal damage/ theft ( as applicable.).and i would like a CRIME RECORDING AND INVESTIGATING PLEASE..". use those exact words and repeat them if needed to the officer(s) attending or anyone call handling if on the telephone and record the date time (and tell them you are recording the time and date and your request that a CRIME be RECORDED.if they sound dubious.)...Make sure your personal diary notes are clear.= and readable by others...throughout what folows..
2>> photograph ALL the damage and tell the officers/telephone operator you have done so. Again repeat if needed. If possible get someone else to also witness it..ie the mess/damage etc
3>> Make it absolutely crystal clear that you will require a crime complaint reference number
and that also your insurers WILL and HAVE requested one.
4>> Without being rude to the attending officers ( or call handler) make it plain that the property concerned and the damage there constitutes a "crime scene" and that they should be getting photographs and requesting the attendance of a "scenes of crime officer" again use these exact words."crime scene attendance officer" and photographs.
5.. If the responses of the officers lead you to know or suspect that they will not record a "crime complaint for criminal damage" then tell them you will write directly to the Chief Constable of the police service concerned ( including photos)..again insisting that a crime be recorded and investigated and also complaining that appropriate action and investigations and crime recording have not taken place and you wish to have that done and to raise a formal complaint that it hasnt been done....sound quietly confident, determined and polite whilst doing so.
6. Keep a diary note clearly listing exactly what you have told the police..which police and when. Especially things such as details of your tenant/suspect..and any info. to help find and arrest them..car no. work place.,.relatives..new add. etc etc.
7. State at any point of opposition to recording a crime or doing something else..or maybe recording one later etc or not being able to prove anything etc as follows >>>"This is clearly intentional and criminal damage/theft....it is way beyond any form of wear and tear/or accidental removal ( if theft) of property. I have a right to have it both recorded as a crime and also to have it investigated as such. and I am not going to be deterred from that".
8. If they refuse to record a crime take their names and collar numbers and tell them AND DO write immediately to the chief constable of the police service concerned.... complaining and require an investigation of both the crime and there handling of it
9.Make it plain that you are prepared to make a witness statement and attend a court if needed>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Trust me..... usually you will get a crime recorded at the first go..certainly if you have to write in to the Chief Constable..and dont let anyone tell you not to write to the Chief constable. Thats the way to go. Their name and details can be found on the web..dont write to any other officer of any other rank.. I suggest anyone renting property especially lower end stuff should bottom drawer this advice and use it if they are unfortunate enough to be in this position. Im not going into my background here but ive thirty years experience including senior level with this stuff. Police officers are like tradespeople and yep professionals of all hues... most are ok some are outstanding..really outstanding.. and a minority are inexperienced.. lazy, indifferent or whatever...dont let the latter category get away with it because if they do it.doesnt help us and doesnt help the police service.Hope this is helpful in the immediate case and it can be to others.Sounds very stern here but this is how to get it done and you can do it all politely. and with tea and biscuits should you wish!

by David Price

15:50 PM, 13th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "michael fickling" at "13/10/2016 - 15:15":

Hi Michael, I have over the years followed your advice pretty much to the letter including complaints to the Chief Constable. It all ended in tears with a threat, in writing, from the acting Superintendent, that if I continued to report crime I would be prosecuted for wasting police time. When I had finished shaking in my shoes (about ten seconds) I promptly reported another crime, an act which evoked a very angry phone call from the superintendent followed by an equally angry letter. An interview at the local nick, at my request, resulted in the Sergeant explaining how they had all the trouble to decrime (his word not mine) my reports and did not want any more. The Sergeant also lied about actions the police had taken, blatant lies which were easily verified.
We have some 60 high quality CCTV cameras monitoring the whole block of flats, installed at great expense, but the evidence is always dismissed as too poor a quality. I continue to report crimes, sometimes several a day, but in 30 years not a single person has been successfully prosecuted as a result of my reports. No action has been taken against me for wasting police time.
Now I can see the gears whirring in the readers head that the crimes I report are trivial but let me assure you that they are not. Murder, rape, paedophilia, drug abuse is the order of the day. We found one 'guest' of a tenant sitting at the dining table with drug paraphernalia at his side. He had died some two weeks earlier and we only became aware because of the smell.
How may people have to die before the police take action? We have an average of two a year in a block of 100 flats (excluding deaths by natural causes).

by Michael Fickling

16:04 PM, 13th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "David Price" at "13/10/2016 - 15:50":

Well i dont know the service concerned but to say they are behind the times is a massive understatement my friend and quite frankly im shocked.You wouldnt get that response in the vast majority of police services. Im also amazed that you had a superintendent getting involved and on the wrong tack too! If they are not recording or investigating they are liable ..in the first instance via Her Majestys Inspectorate of Constabulary... also Police complaints authority..both national bodies..more locally to the Police commissioner...ultimately to the Home Sec...etc etc.
Not recording crimes is what ultimately leads to celebs..VIPs...dodgy religous leaders ...and various other "abusers" in kids care home etc etc to get away with it for so long. Complaints and reports get lost....Crime reports do not.... If it was me Id be standing on but im not you and not in your circs. / area. Very strange indeed...not sure whats going on there..

by Luke P

16:39 PM, 13th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "michael fickling" at "13/10/2016 - 16:04":

Michael, what Force area(s) do you live/operate in? I can closely associate with David's rather than your comment.

by Denise G

18:39 PM, 13th October 2016, About 5 years ago

We have been in this lark since 2006, have just 5 properties and most of our tenants are good ones and have been with us for years - of the other kind of tenants I'll offer just 2 examples:
1) A 'reputable businessman' tenant found for us by (and interviewed and referenced by) a local letting agent never actually moved into our 2 up 2 down terraced house - but it later transpired that he had sublet it to 6 of his Eastern European employees. The property was already in a dreadful state when we discovered them there mainly due, I would guess if I were being charitable, to the overcrowded conditions they were living in, but once notice was served the rent stopped coming and the damage increased exponentially – culminating in our being informed by a neighbour that the police had been called as the 6 men were entertaining themselves by flicking large knives across the (narrow residential) street into other people’s wheelie bins on the other side!
The police advised us that they had asked the men to ‘take it indoors’ (which they did and where they we discovered subsequently completely ruined the front door by using that for their on-going target practice). The policeman’s reason for not taking it any further? Because, he said, maybe throwing knives across the street was how young men traditionally entertained themselves in Eastern Europe!
It cost us 100s of pounds to clear the filth, repair the damage and to replace stolen items once the 6 young men had finally gone.

2) A young ‘lady’, who we’d chosen from many applicants to rent one of our houses because she seemed like a reasonable person who was doing her best and trying to raise her baby in a damp, bug-infested flat when we interviewed her, and who had only failed referencing we believed due to having very recently changed her job, decided after a year or so to withhold her rent and then to slander me using the vilest language imaginable over several weeks on Facebook - which the police chose to deem a civil matter.
I have to wonder if I decided to similarly slander any other local business person in a similar manner would that be a civil matter too?

by David Price

18:57 PM, 13th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "michael fickling" at "13/10/2016 - 16:04":

I should add for the sake of accuracy that we have excellent relations with the local 'coppers', it is the senior police (now moved elsewhere) that were a problem. But the bobby on the beat can only do so much, in essence he/she has to do what he/she is told and that is, in the case of Criminal damage, the AST contract makes it civil. I'll tell the magistrate, after I have slashed the seats on a hire car, that it's not criminal, it's a civil case because I have a hire contract!

by Michael Fickling

20:31 PM, 13th October 2016, About 5 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "D D" at "13/10/2016 - 18:39":

Weve all been there with real aggro tennants. What I was trying to differentiate between was cases of the clearest significant and obviously malicous damage.. and maybe theft in clear circumstances such as theft of an entire kitchen set up...and the best way to deal to involving the police in those cases only. I have given advice, That advice is correct.Anyone who thinks otherwise should take a few minutes to read up..try the GOv website on crime recording and investigation and the police etc. Im simply saying that in most cases you will get a response in those cases as outlined if you follow the guidance as suggested in my post. I cant and dont speak for your local police..if you do all ive said and the circs are truly as described above then you will normally get a response.If you dont then the service concerned are liable for a slapping from the P.CA...Her majestys Inspectorate..Home sec/ home office etc. etc Those are the rules around this and i will not be posting further upon it thank you and empathy to all who suffer at their tenants hands or police reluctance nothing more I can say.

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