T vacated but took L's furniture: is this theft?

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  • T vacated but took L's furniture: is this theft?

    A problem T recently moved out of my property, and decided to take a fridge, freezer and microwave. His deposit did not cover all of his rent arrears, so i am out of pocket and down 3 appliances.

    Can anyone inform me whether i report these appliances as stolen to the police, and would they take any action?

    Thanks In advance.

  • #2
    Originally posted by LeoMc View Post
    A problem T recently moved out of my property, and decided to take a fridge, freezer and microwave. His deposit did not cover all of his rent arrears, so i am out of pocket and down 3 appliances.

    Can anyone inform me whether i report these appliances as stolen to the police, and would they take any action?

    Thanks In advance.
    Do yu have evidence that the goods existed (e.g. receipts) and proof that they were in the property when T moved in (check-in inventory agreed by T)but not there at checkout?

    If so, I would certainly report them stolen - get a crime number. If nothing else, you may be able to claim on your contents insurance (although some policies do not cover theft by Ts).

    If the police consider there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, presumably that will happen. If you have photographs of the items and the Ts present address, perhaps police can go round there and see if property is there - suppose they would need a warrant.
    '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 mind the gap View Post
      Do yu have evidence that the goods existed (e.g. receipts) and proof that they were in the property when T moved in (check-in inventory agreed by T)but not there at checkout?

      If so, I would certainly report them stolen - get a crime number. If nothing else, you may be able to claim on your contents insurance (although some policies do not cover theft by Ts).

      If the police consider there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, presumably that will happen. If you have photographs of the items and the Ts present address, perhaps police can go round there and see if property is there - suppose they would need a warrant.
      I have a signed inventory, with the items listed. I do not however have the T's new address.

      I will look into my insurance, but depending on the excess, it may not be worth claiming, especially if my premiums go up the next year.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by LeoMc View Post
        I have a signed inventory, with the items listed. I do not however have the T's new address.

        I will look into my insurance, but depending on the excess, it may not be worth claiming, especially if my premiums go up the next year.
        What is the total value of the goods, given that they are presumably not new?

        To be honest I don't think the police will bust a gut over this. You could claim the reset of the rent arrears and the value of the stolen goods from T throught the small claims court - but you would have to decide whether it would be worth it. Does he have any money, do you think? If not, any payment order may end up being virtually unenforceable.

        I know it's infuriating, but it may in the end be less stressful just to move on and replace the goods. Presumably we're talking a couple of hundred quid? I would still give the details to the police all the same. When you signe dhim up did you take no other contact details, e.g. work address?
        '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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        • #5
          Originally posted by mind the gap View Post
          What is the total value of the goods, given that they are presumably not new?

          To be honest I don't think the police will bust a gut over this. You could claim the reset of the rent arrears and the value of the stolen goods from T throught the small claims court - but you would have to decide whether it would be worth it. Does he have any money, do you think? If not, any payment order may end up being virtually unenforceable.

          I know it's infuriating, but it may in the end be less stressful just to move on and replace the goods. Presumably we're talking a couple of hundred quid? I would still give the details to the police all the same. When you signe dhim up did you take no other contact details, e.g. work address?
          I did take a reference fromhis employer, but unfortunatly the T lost his job mid tenancy, and i agreed to except LHA.

          I would cost around £300 to replace the items, and therefore i would not go to the bother of going through the small claims court.

          That being said, i will report it to the police for my own sanity, and see's what comes of it.

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          • #6
            Tenant Evicted - but damaged property and stolen furniture

            Finally, after several months, my T was evicted by the bailiffs yesterday. T has left before the bailiffs had arrived and managed to remove most of the furniture (sofa, microwave, w/machine, curtains etc) and also cause damage to the windows (smashed), boiler and kitchen!!

            T owes about 7 months rent, and I have no forward address. I doubt T has any monies but surely the above is criminal rather than a civil matter? Also welcome any suggestions/advice on whether it is worth chasing T for missing rent? Appreciate any advice on what I can do next.

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            • #7
              It sounds like criminal damage, contrary to the Criminal Damage Act 1971. You also have civil rights. Enforcing these would be worthwhile only if:
              a. T can be found; and
              b. he has any assets;
              whereas criminal offences are prosecutions by the Crown. Tell the Police and try to persuade them to act (NOTE: they are not always enthusiastic!)
              JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
              1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
              2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
              3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
              4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

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              • #8
                Originally posted by intelligence69 View Post
                T owes about 7 months rent, and I have no forward address. I doubt T has any monies but surely the above is criminal rather than a civil matter? Also welcome any suggestions/advice on whether it is worth chasing T for missing rent? Appreciate any advice on what I can do next.
                Is T unemployed? If so, not worth chasing in terms of arrears/cost of damage etc. If T does have a job then this means that if you issued and won a (civil) claim you could have the debt paid in installments, deducted from his wages (an attachment of earnings order). You'd have to get a tracing agency to find him first - or with any luck the police will go after him for criminal damage and find him for you.

                You might also try selling the debt to debt collectors. But don't let them persuade you to pay them to chase it on your behalf.

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                • #9
                  Tenant left but furniture missing

                  Hi there.

                  I have been renting out a house for around 5 years now and when I first started renting it out, it was all brand new. There was also a sideboard in the dining area.

                  A week ago, I attended the 'check out' inspection with the letting agents and there were a number of issues. The curtains were stuffed in a cupboard and creased/dirty, the tenants had painted the upstairs and downstairs (with my permission) and had got paint on the skirting boards, they had got drops of paint on the carpet upstairs and the oven has a big 'burn mark' on the front in between the knobs (its stainless steel).

                  In addition, the sideboard is missing.

                  When I challenged the tenant about the missing sideboard, he claims that he sent a letter to the letting agency, along with a cheque for a months rent, stating that if the sideboard wasn't removed, he'd get it removed himself. I never had any communication from the tenant or the letting agency about this, the letting agency claim they didn't receive the letter, however, the tenant has proof (via bank statements) that the cheque was cashed by the letting agency.

                  The confusion comes in that the letting agency never asked the tenant to sign an inventory and a month or so after the tenant moved in, the letting agency changed names and moved offices, however, the details on the tenancy agreement are still in the old letting agency details.

                  Even though the tenant didn't sign an inventory, can I claim for anything, in particular, the sideboard?

                  Not sure if it makes any difference, but the house was let as 'unfurnished'.

                  Thanks for all your help.

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                  • #10
                    Without an opening inventory, the likelihood is no. You may even struggle to claim for the damage to the oven and carpets.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by thevaliant View Post
                      Without an opening inventory, the likelihood is no. You may even struggle to claim for the damage to the oven and carpets.
                      Is that the case even if the tenant has admitted to myself and the letting agency that the sideboard was there? I can't believe the letting agency was so careless as to let a tenant move in without an inventory.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by macfanuk View Post
                        the tenants had painted the upstairs and downstairs (with my permission) and had got paint on the skirting boards, they had got drops of paint on the carpet upstairs
                        Your fault for giving the T permission to decorate

                        When I challenged the tenant about the missing sideboard, he claims that he sent a letter to the letting agency, along with a cheque for a months rent, stating that if the sideboard wasn't removed, he'd get it removed himself. I never had any communication from the tenant or the letting agency about this, the letting agency claim they didn't receive the letter, however, the tenant has proof (via bank statements) that the cheque was cashed by the letting agency.
                        Even if the T's story is true, he isn't allowed to remove the LL's furnishings - if he wanted rid of the sideboard, he should have negotiated it prior to signing the tenancy agreement. But, as thevaliant says, without an inventory to prove its existence, you're unlikely to succeed in claiming deposit deductions for it (or the other damage).

                        The confusion comes in that the letting agency never asked the tenant to sign an inventory and a month or so after the tenant moved in, the letting agency changed names and moved offices, however, the details on the tenancy agreement are still in the old letting agency details.
                        The tenancy agreement is between you (the landlord) and the tenant. It's irrelevant what name the letting agent goes by, as they are not a party to the contract.

                        However, you also have a contract with your letting agent in which they agree to do X in return for a fee. So, what does it say - does it say they will arrange an inventory check-in? If so, you may be able to claim your losses from them.

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                        • #13
                          If you have been receiving rent for 5 years, i'd be more inclined to let it go.
                          Unless it was an antique sideboard, and particuarly valuable skirting boards, and carpet, move on.
                          Allow tenants to protect their own deposits. I want free money when they do it wrong

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