Landlord opening ex-tenant's post

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    Landlord opening ex-tenant's post

    Morning all

    Do any of you have any experience or knowledge of what to do in this situation.

    The landlord has been opening the ex-tenant's post and found a cheque and saying he isn't going to pass it on to the tenant because the ex-tenant owes rent arrears.

    I know that opening tenant's post is against the law but surely the police wouldn't be interested in this.

    I guess the ex-tenant just needs to speak to the person who sent the cheque and have it re-sent to his new address.

    The ex-tenant disputes the rent arrears anyway and wants to submit a counterclaim for disrepair. The landlord hasn't actually issued any Court proceedings, he's simply asked for payment of the rent arrears and the ex-tenant has refused saying the arrears should be set-off against the disrepair.

    But surely the landlord can't just open post and admit to it in email and hold on to the tenant's letters?

    What do you think please?

    thanks

    #2
    Assuming the T has moved out, it's unlikely to be a breach of the law unless someone can prove that the LL wilfully opened post addressed to someone else. But as the post was (presumably) delivered to the correct address, it's highly unlikely you'd prove that it was wilful.

    Best thing to do is a) set up Royal Mail redirection (which should have been done in the first place and b) ask for the cheque to be resent.

    Comment


      #3
      I'd report the crime (most police forces have an online form).
      It's pretty certain that nothing will happen, but you never know.

      It's not opening the post that's the issue (that's possibly not an offence once the post has been successfully delivered), it's the keeping of the cheque.
      Which is theft (or the threat to keep it is an offence).

      The landlord is under no obligation to forward mail and could simply have ripped up the sealed envelope.
      What did you think would happen to your post once you'd moved out?
      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


        #4
        The LL can't do anything with the cheque, go to the company who issued out the cheque and ask for it to be cancelled and re-sent, updating your current address.

        Get the post re-directed.

        Comment


          #5
          Whilst you'd have a hard time proving he willfully opened the letter to breach the ex-tenant's privacy, withholding it until someone addresses arrears is extortion and he's not entitled to hold onto it.

          Re-route post, request the cheque be cancelled and re-issued. Or threaten the guy with litigation unless he gives it up. The former would be easier....

          Comment


            #6
            As said above, get a re-direction put in place with the post office, why the tenant did not do this in the first place is beyond me, yes i would report it but nothing can be proven, it may well shake up the LL though when the Police call them to clarify the circumstances.

            Comment


              #7
              If the tenant refuses to provide the landlord with a forwarding address, the landlord can just throw the letter and cheque away. He's under no obligation to return to sender.

              Comment


                #8
                Berlingogirl,

                Agree, but he's certainly not entitled to open it and knowingly withhold money addressed to the ex-tenant...

                Comment


                  #9
                  It's not illegal to open somebody's letters, but it is to prevent them getting the post. If the tenant refuses to give a forwarding address, then whether the LL throws the letter away, returns to sender, or keeps it , doesn't make a lot of difference - the T is still not getting the cheque. If, however, the LL keeps the cheque when he knows the Ts forwarding address is a different matter.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Erm, strongly disagree...

                    "Interfering with the mail: general.

                    (1)A person commits an offence if, without reasonable excuse, he—

                    (a)intentionally delays or opens a postal packet in the course of its transmission by post, or
                    (b)intentionally opens a mail-bag.

                    (2)Subsections (2) to (5) of section 83 apply to subsection (1) above as they apply to subsection (1) of that section.

                    (3)A person commits an offence if, intending to act to a person’s detriment and without reasonable excuse, he opens a postal packet which he knows or reasonably suspects has been incorrectly delivered to him."

                    Postal Services Act 2000...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      If the letter has been delivered to the property it's addressed to, even if the person it's addressed to hasn't received it, I'd expect that it's no longer "in the course of its transmission by post,"
                      It has been transmitted - the postal service was never going to do more than it has already done.

                      However, "A person commits an offence if, intending to act to a person’s detriment and without reasonable excuse, he opens a postal packet which he knows or reasonably suspects has been incorrectly delivered to him."

                      Which is difficult to make out, because, even in this case, where the landlord opened the post and found something they could use against the tenant, you'd have to persuade a court that that was their intent (to a criminal trial level of probability - beyond reasonable doubt).
                      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


                        #12
                        Pretty straightforward argument:
                        1. Did he believe it was correctly delivered to him? How could he, it was addressed to the ex-tenant.
                        2. Was/is he acting to the detriment of the ex-tenant? Absolutely, he's holding a cheque for monies addressed to the tenant for ransom.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by hybrice View Post
                          2. Was/is he acting to the detriment of the ex-tenant? Absolutely, he's holding a cheque for monies addressed to the tenant for ransom
                          He doesn't have to be shown to have acted to the detriment of the tenant, he's got to have acted "without reasonable excuse" and "intending to act" to their detriment.

                          If the landlord claims the idea of holding the cheque to ransom only occurred to them after they opened the envelope to check if it was something important or a bill, if the court believes them, they fail that test.
                          It's not just what they did, it's why they did it that matters.
                          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


                            #14
                            Maybe, though I think you'd be hard-pressed to argue that the intention wasn't there when the outcome is extortion and withholding of funds.

                            1. What reasonable excuse could he have for opening the ex-tenants mail other than to look for leverage?
                            2. He is certainly acting to their detriment.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Many of the landlords on this forum open mail addressed to ex-tenants (I've done it myself).
                              - Just to check it's not a bill, which the tenant might not be otherwise aware of.
                              - To see if it's something else that might cause me or a future tenant a problem.
                              Neither of those would cause the tenant detriment - even if what I actually found then did.

                              I know that some people have opened letters in the hope of a clue where the tenant might have gone - which might be intended to be to the tenant's detriment, but which would probably pass the reasonable excuse test.

                              Concern about post being delivered addressed to someone who used to live there might even be enough of a reasonable excuse to pass that test regardless.

                              No one ever gets prosecuted for the offence apart from the odd crooked (usually temporary) postman anyway, so it's a bit academic.
                              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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