Tenant's relative damaged property - who's responsible?

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  • Tenant's relative damaged property - who's responsible?

    I have just been informed by my tenant that a relative of hers, who does not live at the property, has damaged the front door. Apparently there was some kind of argument and the relative smashed the glass pane in the door. The police were called and they told the tenant that the Landlord should repair the damage and claim on insurance.

    I disagree with this, as this was not accidental damage. I do not believe my insurance would cover this claim and do not see why I should claim anyway as the incident was nothing to do with me! I have told the tenant that she can either get the door repaired or that I will get the door repaired and that she will have to pay. I advised her that it is up to her to get payment from the woman who caused the damage.

    Have I done the right thing?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Debicj View Post
    I have just been informed by my tenant that a relative of hers, who does not live at the property, has damaged the front door. Apparently there was some kind of argument and the relative smashed the glass pane in the door. The police were called and they told the tenant that the Landlord should repair the damage and claim on insurance.

    I disagree with this, as this was not accidental damage. I do not believe my insurance would cover this claim and do not see why I should claim anyway as the incident was nothing to do with me! I have told the tenant that she can either get the door repaired or that I will get the door repaired and that she will have to pay. I advised her that it is up to her to get payment from the woman who caused the damage.

    Have I done the right thing?

    I would say so, yes. I think you are correct about the insurance - ours specifically includes malicious damage by tenants or their guests, which is what this sounds like, isn't it?

    Even if it had been accidental, I think T is responsible, under the terms of her tenancy agreement (what does that say?) for the prompt repair of any glass she breaks in the property.

    We had a very similar situation once, where a tenant's friend broke a window (not maliciously, but avoidably - they didn't have to get drunk!) and the tenant got very arsey about being asked to pay. He kept saying we should chase his friend for the money, not him. This is nonsense, of course, because he invited the friend onto the premises in the first place. When we explained this, T said, couldn't we just tell the police the friend had been trespassing and claim off our insurance anyway?!!! A law student, no less....
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Debicj View Post
      I have just been informed by my tenant that a relative of hers, who does not live at the property, has damaged the front door. Apparently there was some kind of argument and the relative smashed the glass pane in the door. The police were called and they told the tenant that the Landlord should repair the damage and claim on insurance.

      I disagree with this, as this was not accidental damage. I do not believe my insurance would cover this claim and do not see why I should claim anyway as the incident was nothing to do with me! I have told the tenant that she can either get the door repaired or that I will get the door repaired and that she will have to pay. I advised her that it is up to her to get payment from the woman who caused the damage.

      Have I done the right thing?

      Hi

      I think this is going to depend very much on how well worded your tenancy agreement is. For example, some tenancy agreements hold tenants responsible for the actions of visitors. In this context visitor isn't someone who just happens along and knocks on the door, but someone who is there at the invitation or with the consent of the tenant.

      If your tenancy agreement doesn't cover this circumstance, then I think you might be difficulty.

      Preston

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      • #4
        I agree (again) with MTG. The tenant has to be responsible for the damage.

        Isn't it a wonderful state of affairs though, when, to emphasise a point, somebody smashes a window or door and our caring 'police service' couldn't give a toss? This is where a lot of the problems stem from, in that if the little things are ignored, then the culprits go on to bigger things, with no fear of retribution, until there is state of virtual anarchy. There is a good case for a zero tolerance policy as advocated by some.
        I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jta View Post
          I agree (again) with MTG. The tenant has to be responsible for the damage.

          Isn't it a wonderful state of affairs though, when, to emphasise a point, somebody smashes a window or door and our caring 'police service' couldn't give a toss? This is where a lot of the problems stem from, in that if the little things are ignored, then the culprits go on to bigger things, with no fear of retribution, until there is state of virtual anarchy. There is a good case for a zero tolerance policy as advocated by some.
          I'm not quite sure what else you think the police were supposed to do? Publicly flog the relative? To be honest I think the police have better things to do. (Like raiding the offices of Tory MPs...!)

          If we want to apportion blame for such moronic behaviour, surely we need to encourage better parenting so kids grow up able to control their anger, not smash doors when their feelings get the better of them. Saying the police should deal with it is the very small sticking plaster on the gaping wound, isn't it?

          However, I wouldn't go so far as to say we're in a state of anarchy. jta, GET RID OF THAT BLOODY DAILY MAIL! I DON'T CARE IF IT IS THE ONLY THING YOU CAN GET IN SPAIN! BURN IT, BURY IT, USE IT AS SORREL SUGGESTS*. BUT DON'T READ IT.

          *Read #7 of this thread!

          http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums...t=giant+pandas
          'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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          • #6
            Had a bad night did we then?
            For your info only (nobody else read this bit) I have not been able to get the DM for about six months now. That's why I dropped it on my siggy line and the fact that the joke has gone stale. I'm thinking of taking up the Daily Sport instead.
            I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

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            • #7
              It looks like I have taken the correct action.

              I have carefully checked the tenancy agreement and there is a specific clause stating that the Tenant is "To replace all broken glass in doors and windows damaged during the tenancy".

              As the tenants signed this agreement, they can't really argue against it can they?

              However, I do feel that the Police could have been more helpful to the tenant. Surely there must be some law forcing people to pay for damage that they have carried out maliciously.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Debicj View Post
                It looks like I have taken the correct action.

                I have carefully checked the tenancy agreement and there is a specific clause stating that the Tenant is "To replace all broken glass in doors and windows damaged during the tenancy".

                As the tenants signed this agreement, they can't really argue against it can they?

                However, I do feel that the Police could have been more helpful to the tenant. Surely there must be some law forcing people to pay for damage that they have carried out maliciously.

                Police are never brilliant when it is a "domestic" !

                The Rodent
                A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
                W.Churchill

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Debicj View Post

                  I have carefully checked the tenancy agreement and there is a specific clause stating that the Tenant is "To replace all broken glass in doors and windows damaged during the tenancy".
                  Hi,

                  Sorry to be so negative, but this clause is, in my view, not enforceable in its current form. Under s11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 the landlord is responsible for repairs to the structure and exterior. In Irvine v Moran (1990) 24 HLR 1 QBD it was held that windows, at least on their outer face, are part of the exterior. (This leaves some confusion with regard to double glazing, it has to be said).

                  The landlord is not allowed to "contract out" of this obligation. Of course, the tenant may still be responsible for the repair if they have failed to look after the property in a tenant like manner - or if their visitors have done so, provided there is a clause in the tenancy agreement to this effect (hence my comment earlier).

                  The comments attributed to the police are not, in my experience, uncommon at all. It is really a case of "general chat" from people who are trying to be sympathetic to someone who probably appears very distressed. Clearly it would be better if they just said contact the landlord to find out the position.

                  Preston

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Debicj View Post
                    It looks like I have taken the correct action.

                    I have carefully checked the tenancy agreement and there is a specific clause stating that the Tenant is "To replace all broken glass in doors and windows damaged during the tenancy".

                    As the tenants signed this agreement, they can't really argue against it can they?

                    However, I do feel that the Police could have been more helpful to the tenant. Surely there must be some law forcing people to pay for damage that they have carried out maliciously.
                    If it could be proved that the relative had smashed the door in attempting to gain entry to the property against T's wishes, then, yes, I think R could be prosecuted for attempted breaking and entering, or something like that. There would have to be witnesses, etc., otherwise R could just claim T broke it and case would collapse.

                    However, if T invited R inside, then they argued and R smashed door, then T has to carry the can for her guest's actions, just as you would (presumably) make your teenage children pay for any damage their friends do if you are daft/trusting enough to let them have a party at your house!

                    If R/friends had any decency, they would offer to pay for the damage, wouldn't they? However, if nothing else, it will be a learning experience for the T.
                    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jta View Post
                      Had a bad night did we then?
                      For your info only (nobody else read this bit) I have not been able to get the DM for about six months now. That's why I dropped it on my siggy line and the fact that the joke has gone stale. I'm thinking of taking up the Daily Sport instead.
                      And there was me deluding myself that you were hauling your way up the evolutionary ladder a bit by deliberately ditching the rag. You have a brain...don't let that bunch of small-minded everything-in-monochrome knee-jerking hacks get to you!

                      The Daily Sport, eh. Right.

                      For your info only, I had a very good night, thanks!
                      'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                      • #12
                        Apparently the relative who smashed the glass was not invited to the property but arrived there to argue with another relative who was visiting at the time and tried to break in when she wasn't let in.

                        I feel sorry for the tenant as I believe it was not really anything to do with her but perhaps she could have called the police earlier before any damage was done. There is probably little chance of the tenant getting any money from the relative as she had told me that they haven't spoken for years.

                        However, I still can't see how I can possibly be expected to foot the bill for this. If it had been a complete stranger and pure vandalism, then maybe things would be different but I still think the tenant should bear the cost and reclaim if possible from the person who caused the damage.

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                        • #13
                          Isn't there now a law that says you have to be registered with the FSA to give insurance advice? (so lettings agents shouldn't) I don't think the Police are registered either. They should mind their own business !!

                          The LL should not be left out of pocket if the offender is the tenant or was present at the invitiation of the tenant.

                          Even if the glass is covered by insurance, surely T will have to cover cost under the excess; which is likely to be the whole amount. Also T is usually liable for any increase in premium as a result of their bad action.



                          Why should the tenancy agreement have the only bearing of what happens next? WHat happens if a visitor breaks the window of a home owner? Surely the owner is entitled to sue for the cost of repair. Whether or not he decides to claim on the insurance is the owners choice and not the right of the visitor.
                          All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Debicj View Post
                            Apparently the relative who smashed the glass was not invited to the property but arrived there to argue with another relative who was visiting at the time and tried to break in when she wasn't let in.

                            I feel sorry for the tenant as I believe it was not really anything to do with her but perhaps she could have called the police earlier before any damage was done. There is probably little chance of the tenant getting any money from the relative as she had told me that they haven't spoken for years.

                            However, I still can't see how I can possibly be expected to foot the bill for this. If it had been a complete stranger and pure vandalism, then maybe things would be different but I still think the tenant should bear the cost and reclaim if possible from the person who caused the damage.
                            Yes, I agree with you. Morally, the responsibility for the damage rests with the person who did it. Bearing in mind what you have said, I share your sympathy for the tenant, however, it would seem there is a case for pressing charges against the offender if she was using force to gain entry.
                            'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Debicj View Post

                              However, I still can't see how I can possibly be expected to foot the bill for this. If it had been a complete stranger and pure vandalism, then maybe things would be different but I still think the tenant should bear the cost and reclaim if possible from the person who caused the damage.
                              Talk to your insurance company first to see what you can claim.

                              If the offender was uninvited then its a grey area regarding claiming directly from tenant.
                              All posts in good faith, but do not rely on them

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