Repair costs after burglary my responsibility or not

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    Repair costs after burglary my responsibility or not

    Hi all,

    A couple of weeks ago burglars broke into my rental property late evening. The tenants were not home. There was damage to the back door. The tenants called the police, who then called a repair man for the door. The tenants did call me, but it was 3am and I was asleep and did not hear. I was not aware of the repair man being called, and the tenants were not given a quote or estimate of costs, however they were told that there might be a cost by the police. This is what my tenants are telling me. Now my tenants have received a bill for an outrageous sum for such a simple job. Had I known of the matter, I would have done it myself. The bill is in the tenants name, however the tenants are refusing to pay it and are being threatened with court action by the repair company.

    Is it my responsibility to pay this bill? I did not agree to, or sign anything with the company that completed the job. My tenants are saying that the police have told them that if I am refusing to cover the bill, when the case goes to court, my insurance will just have to cover it.

    Has anyone encountered anything like this? Any advise is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    #2
    If the damage was sufficient that it was necessary to secure the premises, I don't see anything else is reasonable than that you pay the bill.
    You'll always pay a premium for a 24 hour emergency call out.

    If the damage wasn't that urgent, I'd say that the tenants should pay.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
      If the damage was sufficient that it was necessary to secure the premises, I don't see anything else is reasonable than that you pay the bill.
      You'll always pay a premium for a 24 hour emergency call out.

      If the damage wasn't that urgent, I'd say that the tenants should pay.
      Am I legally required to cover the cost even if I have not given consent for the work to be done or signed a contract with the company? The bill is in the tenants' name

      The damage was not urgent.

      Comment


        #4
        It's not that black and white.
        You are technically not liable to pay the invoice, which isn't addressed to you.
        The company might solve that problem by re-issuing the invoice in your name.

        The repair is your responsibility.

        Normally I'd suggest that the tenant is responsible for what happens during the tenancy (just bad luck in this case) and should pay for the damage.

        But this time they seem to have done everything they could.
        The police suggested they call the tradespeople, they tried to call you (and it's not surprising that you didn't answer at 3PM).
        Presumably, the tenants didn't know that the cost would be so excessive and were simply trying to do the right thing.

        On the third hand, the people doing the repair can't simply charge what they like for a service without agreeing it with someone.

        Or just claim on your insurance - it's what it's for.

        When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
        Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

        Comment


          #5
          A housing association would consider this an urgent repair, and would be ensuring that the door was secure within less than 24 hours. You can't really expect to get lots of quotes in that sort of time frame.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
            Normally I'd suggest that the tenant is responsible for what happens during the tenancy (just bad luck in this case) and should pay for the damage.
            I assume we're talking about broken doors, door frame, windows etc., which wasn't damaged by the tenant not behaving in a tenant-like manner, so come under landlord's implied repairing obligations?
            I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

            I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

            Comment


              #7
              I would expect the tenant to claim this on their insurance. If they didn't have any, then that's their own fault. They should pay.

              Comment


                #8
                Tenant insure their own contents, landlord the building. We're talking about securing the building here, not compensation for the content burgled.
                I am not a lawyer, nor am I licensed to provide any regulated advice. None of my posts should be treated as legal or financial advice.

                I do not answer questions through private messages which should be posted publicly on the forum.

                Comment


                  #9
                  To be fair to the tenants if they could not get hold of you (understandable) and its the early hours of the morning what else are they to do, they needed the door to be secure. I agree they would charge a lot but that comes with the out of hours call service.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I think we need more information from the OP to answer this at all. OP, what exactly was the condition of the entrance --

                    a) What was damaged exactly?
                    b) What was repaired exactly?
                    c) What was the minimum that could have been done to secure the door against intruders?
                    d) Was more than the minimum done?

                    Overall you are probably responsible but it depends on the details -- for example if it could have been secured with a chain and lock, or screwed shut with some security screws (without compromising security) and the tenant asked for a complete replacement of the door, doorframe and all locks at 3am that would not be reasonable.

                    How sure are you that the tenants didn't lock themselves out and then break the door down? It happens.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by AndrewDod View Post
                      I think we need more information from the OP to answer this at all. OP, what exactly was the condition of the entrance --

                      a) What was damaged exactly?
                      b) What was repaired exactly?
                      c) What was the minimum that could have been done to secure the door against intruders?
                      d) Was more than the minimum done?

                      Overall you are probably responsible but it depends on the details -- for example if it could have been secured with a chain and lock, or screwed shut with some security screws (without compromising security) and the tenant asked for a complete replacement of the door, doorframe and all locks at 3am that would not be reasonable.

                      How sure are you that the tenants didn't lock themselves out and then break the door down? It happens.
                      a) Nothing was actually broken. The back doors panel support seals were removed, and the middle panel of the door was just taken out. So there was a hole within the frame of the door.

                      b) The repair was that the panel just had to be put into place. The tenants say the repair took two minutes.

                      c) The "repair" was very simple. The panel just had to be slotted back in place

                      d) Since nothing was broken, all the repair man did was put the panel back in place

                      Is it a common occurrence that police offer to call this service for people?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        That does sound like a simple job. However due to time of night that's probably caused a call out fee of a large amount.

                        I do know the police have a rotating list they have of people they call out for stuff like this. They should keep process reasonable of they want to stay on that list.

                        Back when I was in the police, something like this would ruin about £125. This was about 10 years ago

                        Comment


                          #13
                          It seems to me that the door is still insecure, if it is that easy to dismantle.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            If there was a hole in the door big enough to get through, or get a hand through and open the door the property is not secure. Burglars frequently return to a property.

                            You can phone round and get quotes and if they suggest the cost is excessive pay what is fair and dispute the rest. However the bill for work at that time in the morning would be high.

                            Sounds like that door needs replacing or additional security to prevent the easy removal of a panel.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by aco19 View Post
                              Is it a common occurrence that police offer to call this service for people?
                              Yes.
                              They also call this service if they smash open a door as part of an arrest or attempted arrest.

                              You can't expect a tenant to know how to replace a door panel (which doesn't sound very secure in the first place).
                              Pay the bill and move on.
                              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                              Comment

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