harassment

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    harassment

    I thought I would share my experiences of the last 24 hours and a bit before.

    4.30 am yesterday morning and the door bell rings. I was totally comatose as I had only been in bed for a couple of hours and I had gone beyond tired when I hit the sack, so when I jumped out of bed I didn't know whether I was coming or going. We have a new litter of puppies in the house, so my late nights and my wife’s early mornings fit in quite well. I only mentioned the puppies because they sort of have some relevance, being that we need somebody in the house 24/7. I have given up my day job for three months and my wife helps out around her full time job.

    Back to 4.30 am. I looked out of the window to see a police car outside. The first thing that went through my mind was that we had been burgled, although that didn't make too much sense, the last time it happened the door was left open for the police to come in to tell us. Then it hit me, son away at Uni in Liverpool, or could it be other son, who is a Special Constable, was he out on duty last night and run into trouble.

    Heart still pounding when I managed to chuck some trousers on and get downstairs, none of the above, I had nothing to worry about the police were only there to arrest me for harassing a tenant. Yippee! I say that now with some sarcasm, but he didn't take long for the penny to drop as to the severity of what they were saying. All credit to the two officers, they hung around whilst my wife and I got the puppies outside for a wee, something we do each time they wake. And the police didn't mind whilst I grabbed some paperwork that I thought I might need.

    Going back, I had a tenant who was in arrears with her rent. I had tried to speak to her in person, and also on the phone but she was off in her own little world. I texted her a few times and as I do with all tenant texts going back to year dot, I keep them, along with the delivery receipt to show they had been received. Not once was I abusive or threatening and to be honest I quite liked the woman and really didn't want to see her go. Well in the end push came to shove and she got her notice leave. We are talking about £600 owing, but when I eventually got interviewed at mid-day, you would believe some of the things that I had done. Like demanding £2500 from her, why would I do that? Then there was jumping out of a bush which caused her 8 year old to wet herself. And then there was requesting that the rent day was changed. I don’t know the significance of that or why or earth I would want to, as I do my own accounts it sounds like a bit of a nightmare to deal with.

    The upshot of it all being, as well as my 1½ hours telling my side of the story, I spent another 10 hours in a cold 8 by 8 cell busting for a crap, but not doing so because right there in front of me was a camera, and from what I saw at the front desk, was monitored all of the time. I also got my prints taken, my photo taken and my mouth swabbed. And all because somebody got caught up in a fairy-tale of her own volition. I don’t mind admitting it, I was scared. I don’t believe I had done anything wrong, I have always given the correct notices, am always polite and courteous, (even when some scumbag is shafting me,) and I have never done anything where I believe somebody could construe my actions as harassment.

    Well I am home, and no charges are to be brought against me. 20 miles from home and I walked outside and turned on my phone to tell my wife and I just stood there and sobbed like a little baby, just the shear relief of being free. It doesn't change the fact that I lost a day of my life, my wife lost a day at work to be at home with the puppies and I seriously don’t know if I can be a landlord any more. Clearly the police don’t think there is a charge to answer, but what happens when the next time comes and somebody decides to make up allegations? What happens if the interviewing officer isn't as understanding and thinks there might be something in it? What happens if a magistrate or a jury thinks so also?

    I now have a tenant who is one month into her two month notice period and who is owing outstanding rent. Do I issue against her in a month and will that be harassment in somebodies eyes? Do I instead get legal representation and probably have to fork out hundreds of pounds to let somebody else do it?

    So the criminal nightmare has gone away until she decides that I have done something else, but at this point in time she is a tenant of mine, how can I deal with her?

    Be warned, allegations like this don’t happen every day, but they can destroy you nonetheless.

    #2
    A revenge T, upset at receiving s21?
    T harasssment is normally prosecuted by local Council,certainly unusual for Police to conduct a dawn raid. I think you need you need to enquire further and ensure your fingerprint & DNA records are expunged, with poss threat of illegal detention, (poss letter to Chief Constable?).

    Continue with s21 repo and apply for Court costs against T.

    If Sarah Teather's Bill (currently being debated) becomes Law, LLs can expect T revenge claims to increase.

    Comment


      #3
      Does this now mean she is being booked and fined for wasting Police time?
      Will you be suing for slander?
      Not sure if this is possible, but surely she can't do that without facing consequences

      Comment


        #4
        Wrongfull arrest complaint to the Chief Constable.

        It wont go anywhere but will make them chase their tails for bit.
        I offer no guarantee that anything I say is correct. wysiwyg

        Comment


          #5
          If you are having that much trouble with puppies don't have children. Are you planning to sell the pups?

          Vengeful, fibbing tenant wasting police time. Stay away from her until she leaves or let your wife deal with her.



          Freedom at the point of zero............

          Comment


            #6
            04:30?!?! This is barking mad. What do they think you are to justify this kind of dawn raid? I am stunned by this. I really feel for you.

            I have often cast a passing thought to my concerns over this. One Tenant, the only one who receives LHA, out of five is a person I always struggle with to get their top-up paid. Every month I have to remind them, once or twice that reminder has worked but mostly I have to remind them, then chase them, then chase them again. I have wondered what would happen one day if this Tenant suddenly decided that more free housing was an entitlement and why should they pay the small top-up and how could they get out of it. When you think of the possible fall-out (as described here by Steve C) you wonder whether it's OK to remind people they owe you money, and remind them again and chase them... of course, we're only talking about emails here, but it seems that vindictive (or desperate) people can turn things into what they want. As I've never had to chase any of the Tenants who are working for late payment in my mind I associate the risks with the single Tenant who receives LHA (I know any Tenant could pay late) and sometimes wonder whether I'd prefer to not have them in the house, that isn't cool of me and I'll not action it, but it's something I've thought of. Their top-up is outstanding now and I've politely reminded them the day after it was due, I will remind / chase them again on Monday... and so on.

            Can you be a Landlord any more? Of course you can. This - in time - will become an 'interesting' experience you may relate to your friends over a pint, a good little anecdote, just try to add a bit more humour to it. I'm not trying to be funny myself, I can understand how terrible it must have been, but we all get over things in time and if you decide to not be a Landlord any more then this silly person will have won more than what they have now - which is really nothing but getting you to question yourself in this way. Follow through the eviction process with not just a touch of schadenfreude.

            Comment


              #7
              Hippo,

              As Universal Credit comes in things will only get worse and landlords increasingly will not want to take tenants on benefits IMO.

              The whole idea of 'top up' is that tenant does some work of some sort to pay it. Trouble is some tenants have been so used to being nannied by the state they now object to contributing to their own rent! It's far nice to spend any cash they earn on themselves. That is why you are chasing your LHA tenant I'll argue.



              Freedom at the point of zero............

              Comment


                #8
                Hhmmmnnnnn. Very odd: Certainly anecdotally Police almost never take T's accusations of LL harassment seriously: Wonder why they did in this case?? Can you think of any reason, even if you think it invalid? Does she have relatives in the service, or serve behind the bar at the local lodge, or have an "active social life" with a service member? (Perhaps "special" son could shed some light), Think I'd ask, calm & polite, in writing, for a copy of her assertions: They will probably refuse but ...

                Should I see her again by chance (hopefully with a witness) I would be smiley, polite, calm & friendly.

                The offence of harassment is IMHO remarkably clear in law, for once..
                http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1997/40/section/1
                1 Prohibition of harassment.

                (1) A person must not pursue a course of conduct—
                ..(a) which amounts to harassment of another, and
                ..(b) which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other.

                (2) For the purposes of this section, the person whose course of conduct is in question ought to know that it amounts to harassment of another if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course of conduct amounted to harassment of the other.
                So it doesn't matter if you think you have been reasonable, it matters what that "reasonable person" would think. And it is a "course of conduct" not just one action.

                If there are other things she has done or does in future you are unhappy with, keep a log, it all may amount to harassment by T of you - which you could pursue directly or through plod (Harassment is both a civil & criminal matter, and even if Police take no further action T may pursue you through civil route). Shelter's booklet on harassment is quite good on advice on this matter for T's & you can use it as a prompt for you as LL. And read it to see if there is anything else you've done that could be used against you...
                http://england.shelter.org.uk/__data...alEviction.pdf

                You stated..
                I had tried to speak to her in person, and also on the phone but she was off in her own little world. I texted her a few times and as I do with all tenant texts going back to year dot, I keep them, along with the delivery receipt to show they had been received. Not once was I abusive or threatening and to be honest I quite liked the woman and really didn't want to see her go. Well in the end push came to shove and she got her notice leave. We are talking about £600 owing, but when I eventually got interviewed at mid-day, you would believe some of the things that I had done. Like demanding £2500 from her, why would I do that? Then there was jumping out of a bush which caused her 8 year old to wet herself. And then there was requesting that the rent day was changed. I don’t know the significance of that or why or earth I would want to, as I do my own accounts it sounds like a bit of a nightmare to deal with.
                The "tried to speak to her in person" & "also on the phone" & "texted her a few times" may be your problem.. (I am not judging either party..). That is certainly a "course of conduct" but may or may not be harassment (no offence, I do not know the details...- and don't think it would help your cause to post them here as T and'/or her legal adviser may be viewing..).

                It is unfortunate you have provided such graphic detail: Never let the enemy know they are getting to you! She may be viewing and if so your post may cheer her up. I'd check all social media to see if she's saying anything...- take screenshots.

                As mariner says, continue with s21 & evict: Clearly should council housing/homeless people get involved I would wish to ensure that they are aware of all the facts (facts not emotion) regarding rent arrears etc so they may adequately prioritise her needs and consider, given arrears, if she is "intentionally homeless" and thus not eligible for advice or rehousing.

                Should I ever need to visit her/property again go with a witness. Any further communication, in writing, calm & polite, keep copies.

                Call your landlord association and see what they advise: Pretty sure this must have happened before - interesting to see what they say.

                Puppies etc irrelevant if & when this gets further, sorry. Re. going through the motions presumably you didn't go to a school like mine where the doors had been removed from the bogs..

                Do keep us informed & good luck!
                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


                  #9
                  i think i would consider going through the process of high court enforcement for the eviction, yes it costs more, but they are thrown out immediately, i would be there to watch it happen and make sure no concessions are given.

                  alternatively engage one of the specialist eviction companies to take it over from this point so you don't have to deal with her

                  and i would certainly be asking for an explanation, police complaints etc '4.30 am - what a f...in liberty' as 'gran' would say!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Sounds unusual. What did your solicitor say to you about this during the time you were held?

                    How long before you have to go back?

                    The Police will probably go back to the complainant and seek further clarification of the situation now that they have your version if events. The Police do not make decisions regarding charging, they submit a report to the CPS, who decide on charging. That is only done once all the versions of events are known and considered, expect them to go back to the complainant for their response to your version. Your experience may not yet be over?

                    Edited to add there is no reason for you to cease all contact with the T, the PFHA specifically excludes what you have a right to do, otherwise everyone who doers not like being held to account could claim harassment.

                    (3)Subsection (1) does not apply to a course of conduct if the person who pursued it shows—
                    (a)that it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime,
                    (b)that it was pursued under any enactment or rule of law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any enactment, or
                    (c)that in the particular circumstances the pursuit of the course of conduct was reasonable.


                    Taking your post as it is, your conduct is permissible.

                    pm
                    Before acting on forum advice, you may wish to consult an expert, someone who has all the relevant facts, and who accepts liability for their advice.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Horrendous story.

                      Fairy tales of harassment from tenants are not unusual, especially at this level, and while totally inexcusable, I think the big picture is why the police took it upon themselves to conduct a dawn raid and bang you up for a day. To my mind, that is completely and utterly outrageous, and personally I would be focussing my ire on the police rather than the tenant (though she would of course be out of there as fast as an S21 would permit)

                      It's not even as if the allegations were of a particularly serious nature; if the tenant had been claiming that you'd physically assaulted her or made threats against her children - maybe their actions would have been understandable.

                      I'm assuming that you aren't 'known to the police' for some reason which might have meant they had a reason for doing what they did?

                      I don't know what I'd do if I were in this situation. Definitely a letter to the Chief Constable demanding some answers; but whether to push it beyond that, I'm not sure. It would undoubtedly involve a huge amount of stress over a protracted period of time, and taking on the might of the police force is not something to be done lightly - I've heard too many stories of stitch-ups. Maybe best to put it behind you.

                      There's quite a helpful legal forum at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!fo...egal.moderated with some knowlegable folks:
                      you might want to try posting this story there (definitely redacted a bit though!) to see what they reckon to it.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        i would def be chasing it up, via police complaints and police commissionaire (typo intended!)

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Hmm. This is why I don't visit, phone, text or even write about rent arrears. Section 8 & 21 notices only. Those are perfectly clear, and can't lead to my arrest.

                          Sorry to hear about your experience O/P.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thanks for posting Steve.
                            I hope the Police had some more reasons than you've posted for their actions.
                            But forewarned is forearmed.
                            Doubly cautious in future.
                            And now I know getting banged up is an occupational hazard, I won't be so worried if it happens to me.
                            Doubtless when Sarah Teather's 'revenge' eviction Bill comes in, we will all be experiencing the slop bucket.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              This certainly seems odd - I have seen several trials and sentencings for harassment and the bar is set high - there has to be a very real pattern of high level witnessed harassment, threats etc for it to be charged by the CPS. There is no offence in sending a letter chasing money - half the credit controllers in the country would be banged up if this were the case. I would be furious if there is no background to this we don't know. I would be shouting wrongful arrest from the rooftops. You do realize that the record of your arrest will be on file forever now? It could affect you life. I would be working to ensure all record is removed and my dna and fingerprint samples destroyed. I assume you spoke to a solicitor and had one with you during the interview? Duties are available for free at any time. What did they say? Why did they not have you out and the police groveling an apology to you within 15 minutes? If the tenant had managed to get the police at all interested in these allegations they would normally ask you to attend for a voluntary interview and arrest you there if they thought there were grounds or let you go. very very odd indeed.
                              Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

                              Comment

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