Tenants have stolen/ damaged property. Help!

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  • Tenants have stolen/ damaged property. Help!

    Hi there,

    I wonder if any of you could shed some light on my situation... here is the background story (this may take a while)...

    I had a tenant who was signed on a 12 month contract, about 3 weeks ago the tenant informed my estate agent that he had been made redundant and wanted out of the contract. We asked him firstly to provide evidence of his redundancy - we never received this. The contract states that tenants should provide 2 months notice. I said that I would release him from the contract ONLY when I had secured a new tenant - he agreed to this.

    Last Thursday I received a phone call from my estate agent informing me that the tenant had posted the keys and a letter to the estate agent stating that he was unable to afford to live there any longer and please see this as cancellation of the contract. The tenant also agreed to sign over the £600 bond to me. My estate agent asked me to go over to the property to have a quick check over to see if the flat was in order.

    When I arrived at the property I noticed that the flat had been completely stripped bare of all the included items. Anything that could be moved had been removed from the property (kettle, toaster, hoover etc). I had a full inventory done on the flat (pictures etc) which the tenant had previously agreed to. Not only had all the items belonging to the property been removed but the property was also damaged - there was a hole in the door, a light socket hanging out of the ceiling and the leather bed frame had been scratched all over - I have now discovered that the tenant had a cat in the flat.

    I informed my estate agent ASAP who contacted the tenant to ask him about my missing items/ damage to the property. I have had a check out inventory done which has highlighted all missing/ damaged items. The tenant is not being co-operative and is not accepting any responsibility for the damage/ missing items.

    The tenant owed me rent for May to the sum of £500 (which I have taken out of the bond) so I am left with £100 to cover damages/ missing items...

    What should I do next? Is it worth filing a police report?

    Sorry for the essay! Would be grateful for your thoughts/ comments. This is my first experience of letting out a property :-/

  • #2
    With regards the missing items you could attempt to report them as theft. However, I fear that you will be told that it is a civil matter.

    I am perplexed that you say the property was stripped bare and then go on to say about damage to your bed, some clarification please.

    Perhaps a small claims court claim would be worth considering, alternately swallow the loss, put it down to experience and move on.

    Comment


    • #3
      Report 'theft' to Police, if only for the crime number if you can claim off your Ins.
      Allcate deposit as follows: 1 payment towards repair of damage, 2 replacement of lost items (like for like) and finally 3 rent arrears. Rent arrears are an easily provable financial 'debt' which can be chased for 6 years IIRC.
      Weigh all the above with liklehood of recovering further monies (cost) or do you just want to put a CCJ on Ts credit record?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by FF8282 View Post
        With regards the missing items you could attempt to report them as theft. However, I fear that you will be told that it is a civil matter.

        I am perplexed that you say the property was stripped bare and then go on to say about damage to your bed, some clarification please.

        Perhaps a small claims court claim would be worth considering, alternately swallow the loss, put it down to experience and move on.
        Theft of items is not a civil matter.

        I had a similar situation with a lovely tenant who stole the furniture and white goods from a property. The police were at my office today to get a statement. The officer was at pains to inform me that the rent arrears were not a matter for them, which is fair enough.

        Because you know who stole the items they become a "named offender". Quite simply the police cannot ignore the matter and it will remain open until the tenant is traced. In fact, an ex copper mate said that the police hate these cases as they never go away - they tend to get bumped up to a (slightly) higher rank if open for a long time. So the police will do a national PNC search, log the details with Experian (quite good, as it means that if the tenant ever gets a mobile phone contract or enters into any credit agreement the police will find out!), etc, until they turn up!

        There was no attempt to dissuade me from making the report or calling it a civil matter.
        Liability statement. My liability to you is not to exceed the amount you are paying for my recommendations or advice.

        I see a bright new future, where chickens can cross the road with no fear of having their motives questioned

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
          Theft of items is not a civil matter.

          I had a similar situation with a lovely tenant who stole the furniture and white goods from a property. The police were at my office today to get a statement. The officer was at pains to inform me that the rent arrears were not a matter for them, which is fair enough.

          Because you know who stole the items they become a "named offender". Quite simply the police cannot ignore the matter and it will remain open until the tenant is traced. In fact, an ex copper mate said that the police hate these cases as they never go away - they tend to get bumped up to a (slightly) higher rank if open for a long time. So the police will do a national PNC search, log the details with Experian (quite good, as it means that if the tenant ever gets a mobile phone contract or enters into any credit agreement the police will find out!), etc, until they turn up!

          There was no attempt to dissuade me from making the report or calling it a civil matter.
          I would have thought the police would love these cases. Easy statistics for them!
          [I]The opinions I give are simply my opinions and interpretations of what I have learnt, in numerous years as a property professional, I would not rely upon them without consulting with a paid advisor and providing them with all the relevant facts[I]

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
            .... log[ed] the details with Experian (quite good, as it means that if the tenant ever gets a mobile phone contract or enters into any credit agreement the police will find out!)....
            There was no attempt to dissuade me from making the report or calling it a civil matter.
            That's really good to hear, and somewhat satisfying too!
            IANAL (I am not a lawyer). Anything I say here is just an opinion, so should not be relied upon! Always check your facts with a professional who really knows their onions.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by FF8282 View Post
              With regards the missing items you could attempt to report them as theft. However, I fear that you will be told that it is a civil matter.

              I am perplexed that you say the property was stripped bare and then go on to say about damage to your bed, some clarification please.

              Perhaps a small claims court claim would be worth considering, alternately swallow the loss, put it down to experience and move on.
              Hi there, thanks for responding... sorry I can see how my post confused you... The tenant left Bed, Wardrobe, Sofa but took smaller items - kettle, toaster, hoover etc...

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
                Theft of items is not a civil matter.

                I had a similar situation with a lovely tenant who stole the furniture and white goods from a property. The police were at my office today to get a statement. The officer was at pains to inform me that the rent arrears were not a matter for them, which is fair enough.

                Because you know who stole the items they become a "named offender". Quite simply the police cannot ignore the matter and it will remain open until the tenant is traced. In fact, an ex copper mate said that the police hate these cases as they never go away - they tend to get bumped up to a (slightly) higher rank if open for a long time. So the police will do a national PNC search, log the details with Experian (quite good, as it means that if the tenant ever gets a mobile phone contract or enters into any credit agreement the police will find out!), etc, until they turn up!

                There was no attempt to dissuade me from making the report or calling it a civil matter.
                Hi there... I asked my estate agent whether I should contact the police but he said no.. after reading your post I think it is worth a shot. Thanks for your advice!

                Comment

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