Police damage to rental property

by Readers Question

7:22 AM, 9th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Police damage to rental property

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Police damage to rental property

Police broke into one of our tenants homes by smashing the door to get in but discovered no evidence and did not charge our tenant. Police damage to rental property

The tenant has said that they have done nothing and don’t know why the police raided them.

The police say “the tenant has been mixing with the wrong people” is that a crime?

Who is responsible for the repair cost – or is it Muggins!

Thanks

Mark Page



Comments

Mark Alexander

7:27 AM, 9th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Hi Mark

If I you you I would probably do the following:-

1) Immediately serve a section 21 notice on the tenant but advise them that if the damage is fixed before the end of the notice period you will not seek a possession order. This should provide sufficient incentive for your tenant to put pressure on the Police to pay for the damage or alternatively to pay for the damage themselves. If they don't get it sorted do you really want to keep this tenant anyway? Smoke without fire?

2) Write a letter of complaint to the Chief Constable.

Good luck and please let us know how you get on.
.

Mick Roberts

7:30 AM, 9th May 2014
About 5 years ago

I've had approximately ten of these over about 15 years, & been paid for about 2.
From memory, it's pure pot luck & chance which ones you get paid for & not.
Put all your evidence down, send it into (used to be finance section) of local Police headquarters & hope for the best.
I think their main argument used to be, if Judge had issued warrant, there was suspicion, & can break door down.

I believe I've been paid for one where there was drugs found. And another time, not got paid for one, where NOTHING was found. And no arrests made.
I reckon it was more chance on who was dealing with my claim at the time.

Gary Nock

8:39 AM, 9th May 2014
About 5 years ago

If the police have lawfully and legitimately used a power of entry under statute then they are under no obligation to pay any compensation. If they have made a mistake in entering the wrong address then you may get compensation. Lawful entry is under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Sections 17, 18, or 32, or by warrant issued by a magistrates court

Adrian Jones

8:51 AM, 9th May 2014
About 5 years ago

I had a similar incident about 15 years ago.

The police forced entry in the middle of the night by breaking down the door.

They arrested the tenants and arranged to have the door secured until it could be replaced.

The position of Avon & Somerset police was that if they found what they were looking for (they did) they were not liable. If they hadn't they would pay for the new door..

As well as writing to the Chief Constable, also include the Police Commissioner.

Neil Patterson

9:15 AM, 9th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Hi Mark

The type of "wrong people" would make me concerned!

Are we talking drug dealers, bank robbers, gangs, etc. Did you at least ask the question?

I would be very inclined to side with the police as they have lots to do without hassling your tenant for no reason or suspicion.

Lisé Willcox

9:17 AM, 9th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Mmm I was a police officer 19 Years and I put in the right doors, suspected doors, life or death doors and at least one wrong door as I went to the front address in (good faith) but I always assumed that If we did not find what we were looking for then we would have to pay up. Right doors with warrants tend to
Have been very well researched in deed over time and the property watched for a while. If the door has been put in re crime with a warrant and nothing found then I'd still be evicting as a warrant has to be justified in detail to a magistrate. However the tenant would be given reasons for it in writing so it's worth checking these and researching them if you end up with a damaged property and your tenant has disappeared for one reason or another then either write to the boss or pop into the local nick nearest to the property and speak to the duty inspector, could be a wait though! I fully sympathise it's one of my worries but I see it as part of the life of a landlord. I wish you luck
X

I will consult on this and get back to you

In the past five years I have reported drug dealing on two of my tenants from gossip of neighbours and suspicions from gas engineers. In one case I also did my due diligence and reported the one with children to social service. I am a hands on landlord, so I usually spot or hear stuff quickly. When I rang the police I asked them to note that I would give them a set of keys should that be 'useful' given that the doors were upvc. I then set about evicting the tenants concerned for other reasons. Generally drug abuse goes hand in hand with domestic anise, child neglect, damage to property and rent arrears. In both cases I was successful, the police did not get a raid done and the children involved have a social worker now.

If it happened to me as a land lord And nothing was found I would be writing to the chief constable.

Jonathan Clarke

9:22 AM, 9th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Different Police Forces have different internal policies. There are a lot of grey areas here so no one answer fits all I`m afraid.

I`ve had quite a few of these over the years . It goes with the LHA territory often. The rule of thumb appears to be - If they have a warrant but dont find anything the police pay. If they do then I pay and claim back gradually through the tenant at something like £10 per week . I get annoyed though when they dont even tell me after the event and board up the whole property. Imagine someone gave malicious info to Crimestoppers and the police acted on it. You were out at the time and came back in the evening from a day trip in the Cotsworlds and found your house boarded up. Shameful

I would rarely serve a Sec 21 as a result or I would always be on my computer. Everyone seems to be on cannabis these days so that doesnt solve my problem. On a wider social note I would just simply push the problem elsewhere. Not fair on my fellow landlord. It could happen to the next tenant I got in anyway so I got all the hassle and extra expense of a change over. Better the devil you know

Sometimes I just bite the bullet and pay anyway and treat it as a sunk business cost. It upgrades a front door which probably needed doing anyway and chances are one of the tenants mate is a fitter anyway so i just pay for the unit. All off settable of course against tax

Gary Nock

9:33 AM, 9th May 2014
About 5 years ago

To be honest you can write to the Home Secretary if you want. It all ends up with an Inspector at the policing unit where it occurred. I know because they all used to land on my desk. If its lawful- no compo. If its unlawful- then theres a chance. Make the complaint through the Independent Police Complaints Commision website.

Julian Fernandes

9:35 AM, 9th May 2014
About 5 years ago

In my experience in these circumstances the Police will do as little as possible to refund the repair even if they have the wrong house/victim.

I advise to invoice the local police force works as per normal and when not paid within a reasonable period of time, a second letter of demand issued for payment within 7 days.

When you do not get paid , MCOL. Force the issue into court.

Chris Unwin

10:33 AM, 9th May 2014
About 5 years ago

Lots of (probably excellent) learned advice above. However, I had the unfortunate experience of having a door on a flat broken in by the police in error. They point blank refused to compensate me. I gave them 30 days to contemplate their actions and to do the right thing. They still refused. Without further ado I took the Met Police Commissioner straight to a small claims court and simultaneously logged a complaint with the IPCC. They fought tooth and nail and did their very best best to get the case dismissed. I stood my ground and did not back down. The police settled the day before the court hearing.

The moral of the story is never succumb to bullies for they will be emboldened for the future and always remember the Police simply cannot afford the adverse publicity....

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