Washing machine removed – Crime or Not?

by Readers Question

13:37 PM, 1st December 2014
About 4 years ago

Washing machine removed – Crime or Not?

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Washing machine removed – Crime or Not?

My son has a couple of rental properties. The tenant of one of them has finally quit following expiry of the Section 21 Notice. He is about £1,000 behind with the rent. The property was left in a disgusting state with litter everywhere and a child’s scrawlings on some walls. The flat needs to be completely redecorated.

On top of this, he has removed a £700 Bosch washing machine, without consent. My son reported this to the police, but they feel that it is not their job to act as a bailiff and seize goods. They suggested that he withhold the bond guaranteed by the council, but that won’t even cover the unpaid rent..

My question is whether or not a crime has been committed, i.e. theft of goods, and if so, should the police be expected to follow this up with the tenant.?

Malcolmwashing machine



Comments

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

14:00 PM, 1st December 2014
About 4 years ago

yes a crime has been committed - theft - .. will the police help you ? no !! .... unless a landlord is injured by a tenant... they will not investigate landlord/tenancy matters but instead will tell you "this is a civil matter- take your tenant to court."

you could claim on your insurance if you have "tenant damage" covered...

good luck with the Bond Board - getting money out of them is like inserting a fiver into an aquatic animals rear end..... !!

Robert Mellors

14:15 PM, 1st December 2014
About 4 years ago

I've had this happen with washing machines, fridges, and even with wired in cookers! In all instances I report this to the police as a theft and insist on getting a crime number. In most cases nothing happens, as the police don't have enough evidence to prosecute, but in one instance it did result in former tenants being convicted of theft and having to pay compensation (which the magistrates court deducted from their benefits and then forwarded on to me).

Reporting it as a crime and insisting on getting a crime reference number also helps you claim on the insurance (if covered for this), and/or will assist if you decide to sue the tenant for the arrears and damages (as you can include this).

Neil Woodhead

14:37 PM, 1st December 2014
About 4 years ago

We have experienced similar events and in one instance we new where the tenant had moved too. The police would have dealt with the matter but we did not have serial numbers to cross reference and they were not marked with a security pen.

Difficult to claim insurance.......most policies will not cover removal of items by tenant. My advice is to check the small print and make sure you have the correct policy in place to cover you in the future.

Ian Ringrose

15:08 PM, 1st December 2014
About 4 years ago

Yes a crime has been committed, but the tenant only has to say in court that they come home one day to find the washing machine missing. Proving beyond reasonable doubt is not easy.

Still worth reporting and insisting on a crime reference number.

Meanwhile do your duty, join landlordreferencing.co.uk (and list ALL your tenants both good and bad). Also it is worth getting a CCJ against the ex tenant as if nothing else it will make it harder for them to rent from someone else, and you never you, they may have enough money to pay up within in next 6 years.

Jeremy Edwards

15:11 PM, 1st December 2014
About 4 years ago

Yes, it is a crime, but no, the police will not follow it up unless it is a "slam dunk!". Report it, insist on a crime number and claim on the insurance if you can. Otherwise move on and treat it as a learning experience.

Paul Shears

18:52 PM, 1st December 2014
About 4 years ago

It's slightly off topic, but I once had a pick pocket lift £300 from me in a shop Slough and I did not realise for 10 minutes (Classic bump into me trick).
The minor police station in Slough would not acknowledge my knocking on their door so I went to the main police station.
The main Slough police station were very reluctant to raise the barrier and let me drive in until I told them over the entrance intercom that I had come to report a crime.
The Slough desk sergeant then refused to record the crime on the grounds that I could not prove that one had been committed..............

Steve Gracey

17:27 PM, 4th December 2014
About 4 years ago

I agree with other replies - yes a crime has happened, yes the police should pursue it, and yes they will try and fob you off saying it is a civil matter.

Be firm with the Police and you should get it through. Google the theft act for them and ask them why specifically they think this is not a criminal offence.

I had a case where boyfriend caused £100s of pounds of damage actually witnessed by police who arrested him for threatening behaviour. Police said the damage was a civil matter and nothing to do with them because it was to do with tenants / guests. I googled the Criminal Damage Act which doesn't show any such exclusion and copied it to a friendly inspector. In the end she put it through as a non CPS court case and he admitted it. CPS seemed to be the ones blocking it. I didn't even attend.

I should add that I was very pleased with myself until I realised later that I get 50 p every week on this payment plan thingy and even that doesn't turn up most weeks.

All BankersAreBarstewards Smith

18:21 PM, 4th December 2014
About 4 years ago

but hopefully the culprit has a CCJ and that will focus his mind for the future

Colin Dartnell

18:39 PM, 4th December 2014
About 4 years ago

Sorry it doesn't help you but unless it's really top end, a £700 washing machine in a let property. I don't think I would take the chance.

Ian Ringrose

18:46 PM, 4th December 2014
About 4 years ago

A criminal record is not a CCJ and does not show up on a credit or reference check.

Unless someone is wanting to do one of the few jobs where employers do criminal records checks, or wishes to get a HMO license, a criminal record has little downside until the person gets enough of them to be sent to jail.

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