Costs to landlord as a result of a break in

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    Costs to landlord as a result of a break in

    Hi

    My tenant contacted me saying they were away and someone tried to break into the property but luckily their relatives were minding the property. They said that they have reported it to the police and had to call a locksmiths out which they have a bill for £100+. The locksman put an extra lock inside the door and said the door is still not safe. I asked why a locksmith was called out and the response was because the relative minding the property was scared so more for protecting the house as well as themselves. The locks man told them to protect it from the outside would cost more so they had the cheapest protection done from the inside.

    As a landlord i am a little confused and not sure on our accountability in this situation. Do we have to pay out the £100+ for the locksmith? especially as we may need to maybe look at the door as the tenant is saying it is not secure from the outside (not sure what this means yet).

    Any advise or help would be grateful

    Thanks

    #2
    The tenant is responsible for any damage and the costs And for looking after the property.

    Not sure what you mean by not secure from the outside. But if you care about your house then you may want to get the problem fixed and pass the bill to the tenants.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by ldrobertspat View Post
      Hi

      My tenant contacted me saying they were away and someone tried to break into the property but luckily their relatives were minding the property. .........
      Really?? "Tried to break in"?? - How?? And where/why was tenant "away" and who were these "relatives" & in what way were they "minding it"?? Could be a sublet cannabis farm for all you know...

      Ask them initially for the crime reference number & which Police station the report went to.

      Read your insurance & see if you need to inform insurers...
      I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

      Comment


        #4
        Ah, a variation on the old: 'Locks didn't work, so I called a locksmith.'

        Here's what I think happened:

        Tenant forgot key so kicked door in to get in. Locksmith was called to make secure, so fitted a new lock.

        Bet you I'm right!

        Comment


          #5
          I would think that the front door is not one of the repair obligations of the landlord under statutory provisions, so notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the tenancy agreement it is due to the tenant to get this repaired.

          Comment


            #6
            mattl,

            It is a statutory repair obligation, actually.

            Comment


              #7
              Really? You see I think I never learn out.

              Care to enlighten me further with the relevant Act?

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by mattl View Post
                Really? You see I think I never learn out.

                Care to enlighten me further with the relevant Act?
                Good ol' s.11 Landlord and Tenant Act 1985:

                (1) In a lease to which this section applies (as to which, see sections 13 and 14) there is implied a covenant by the lessor—

                (a) to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes),

                Comment


                  #9
                  hmm, does the front door belong to the structure or to the exterior? I would have said neither of them, because the windows wouldn't normally belong to the structure and exterior either?

                  Comment


                    #10
                    mattl, are you just being 'playful'?
                    What would your reaction be if a builder tried to sell you a house with gaps where windows & ext doors should be, if they are not part of the fabric of the house?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Hi all

                      Sorry i have been unable to reply for a while. I still have this issue outstanding and am unclear on where i stand. We contacted the police and they said they took a report of someone trying to break in but did not go out to investigate further. The tenant is asking us to pay for the locksman bill. What do we do? any advise?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Did you get a crime number from the police? Have you reported the issue to your insurance company?
                        That is why you should have insurance, if you are not insured then you pay and try to recover the money from your tenant (or the crook if he's caught, which he wont be.)

                        I have had this exact scenario with a tenant where her back door was smashed in. She reported it to me I called the insurance company within the hour, they sent an assessor the following day and it was made safe, entire door and fittings replaced about six weeks later.

                        I didn't even have to get off my bum.
                        I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by ldrobertspat View Post
                          ...unclear on where i stand.
                          I do not think there is much doubt that the responsibility for repairing the door lies with you. Section 11 is quite clear that in a short term residential tenancy the landlord is responsible for the exterior. External doors and windows are part of the exterior. The only possible doubt can be whether the action the friend took was justifiable. Whilst ideally the friend would have contacted your or any agent, the action taken cannot be deemed unreasonable because securing the premises had to be a priority.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            We contacted the police and they said it was a telephone ref and that no actual crime was reported as no one actually broke into the premises. They said the person just reported a break in tried to take place and they felt unsafe regarding the door. The main lock was not broken but for more safety the tenants friend called out a locksmith who offered to make the outdoor lock safer but it was more expensive so they decided to put a additional lock on the inside of the door at a cost of £120 which now the tenant is asking us to pay for.

                            We are reasonable people and would have paid for someone to come out and make the outdoor lock safer after someone tried to break in but we were not contacted until after the locksmith had fitted an additional lock on the inside. We are now getting a carpenter out to put a new deadlock on the outside for the tenant but do not see why we should pay out for the full £120 when the lock was not broken and the tenants words were "the lock was not broken but the extra lock was put in as the friend was scared and for more safety". When i asked the tenant why we were not contacted before the locksmith came out, the response was that the friend did not have our number and they wanted to make the place safer ASAP. We are happy to pay part towards the locksmith cost, but are we legally liable to pay for the whole cost?

                            Comment


                              #15
                              You say that the main lock was not broken. Was some other lock broken? If not, that throws a different light on the matter and it would seem that there was in fact nothing to repair. If no repair was needed then you cannot be liable to pay the cost of the additional lock.

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