How much damage can a small theft cause?

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  • How much damage can a small theft cause?

    Just wanted to share this little episode with you.

    Had a rental property with students in (my former home, as it happens). When they left, they'd caused a fair amount of damage and the place was disgusting. Tenants didn't get their deposit back but I didn't bother pursuing them for the additional costs after their departure.

    Started to spend the deposit getting the place ready for letting again, paid several hundred pounds to get the place cleaned etc, when the place was broken into and several hundreds of pounds of damage was done. Unimpressed with myself for having a misunderstanding over the insurance policy, it turned out I wasn't covered.
    Arranged cover, swallowed the cost of the additional damage and set about clearing up, though the place was now in a worse state than it had been when the tenants left.
    Halloween, local kids (I assume) broke a window and caused more damage.
    Even more unimpressed I contact the insurance company, who tell me that THEY mucked up and I wasn't actually covered (they'd set up a policy on another property that was already covered, by them and hadn't taken my money when I'd asked them to, but they generously offered that if I wanted them to cover the cost of the window they'd be happy to back-date my policy, if I paid the premiums for the time when I hadn't actually been covered (it was supposed to have been a "first three months free" offer, so I wasn't even able to check the money had left my account.) I politely declined their kind offer.

    So there I am, place been trashed by tenants and vandalised twice, I decide I'm going to sell. So I order a new kitchen, get the entire place repainted (only 12 months since I'd done it for the tenants) and while waiting for the kitchen to be delivered, visit the property several times a week to keep working on the repairs following the tenants and the first break-in (new internal doors fitted, new front door fitted, and did I mention the lovely paint job?)

    Last weekend I do my usual weekend visit, to be greeted by evidence of another break-in. In short the value of the property they nicked adds up to about £500 at a rough guess. But what greeted me when I opened the door was a very unwelcome sound. My heart sank. Running water. Very fast running water. And not into a sink either. The *£$(?"/**s had stolen the hot water tank from the upstairs airing cupboard and copper pipes from the attic. Also some lead flashing that I'd just paid to have repaired (following student occupancy).

    Following further inspection by my builder, most of the ceilings upstairs have irreparable water damage. Same for most of the ceilings downstairs. Carpets throughout trashed. Electrician has condemned the wiring throughout. Gas boiler likely to be damaged beyond repair. (I'd had it set to run overnight during the cold periods, but of course there wouldn't have been any water and in any case they'd ripped the pipework out of it.) And because I'd already removed most of the kitchen in readiness for the new one, I clearly can't claim for a new kitchen on the insurance policy.

    To add insult to injury, the insurer tells me the excess on my policy is now £500 because the place was unoccupied, despite me visiting it regularly and frequently having someone in there during the day working.

    The place is now just a shell. Loss adjuster has put an estimate of around £80,000 to put the place right.

    And all for less than £500-worth of scrap metal.

    Moral of the story?

    MAKE SURE YOUR INSURANCE IS CURRENT!!!

    (...and breathe...)

  • #2
    You've got to be joking, right??

    Comment


    • #3
      My God... someone remind me again why we do this property thing? Really sorry to hear all that.

      Moral of the story?

      MAKE SURE YOUR INSURANCE IS CURRENT!!!
      And maybe also to install only combi boilers so no copper hot water tank is needed?

      Comment


      • #4
        Surrey: were locks changed after students vacated? Could they have made a return visit, seeking souvenirs such as your plumbing system?
        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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        • #5
          No, I changed all the locks and only me and my trusted builder had the keys, so I'm confident it wasn't the students or the builders. Police found two sets of gloved prints, doors were all deadlocked and a back fanlight window had been broken, they forced open the locked window beside the smashed fanlight and had to chip the lagging off the tank to get it back out the window.

          And no Colin, I'm not joking, I just wish I was. A few things had my jaw dropping, you might even smile. As part of the refurb I'd bought new doorhandles for all the internal doors, I was in the process of putting them on so they were beside the doors I was painting or that I had to take the old handles off. Every single bleedin' one gone. I had emptied the boot of my car to take rubbish to the dump, so put my jump leads in the house. Gone. Had a strimmer, to replace the one the vandals had broken previously. Broken one hadn't made it to the dump. Not only did they take the new strimmer, they cut the wire off the broken one and nicked that too. As well as the several extension leads that were in the house.

          This morning I had a puncture. The streets of Surrey seem to be littered with tyre-ripping rubbish, must be about the sixth in the last two years.

          I have not had a good 2008 so far. Other rubbish happening in other areas mean I'm running out of the capacity to do a Vera Lynn and keep smiling through.

          Anyone got a Tardis I could borrow?

          Comment


          • #6
            Great game property eh? At least you can usually feel you have some protection from your insurance, aren't insurers great?

            I too feel for your misfortune here, in fact, when I think my plan is going pear shaped, I might just come back and read this sorry tale again.

            Good luck

            PS
            as for thinking you are insured. I once had a brand new Merc, paid £1600 for really good fully comp cover. Documents looked a bit sad for such an expensive policy, but, hey ho.
            At renewal I took the docs to a recently met insurance broker chum, who informed me that, I'd never been covered and that the old broker had created fictitious docs and done a runner with many peoples money!
            There's a moral in here somewhere.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Surrey View Post
              No, I changed all the locks and only me and my trusted builder had the keys, so I'm confident it wasn't the students or the builders. Police found two sets of gloved prints, doors were all deadlocked and a back fanlight window had been broken, they forced open the locked window beside the smashed fanlight and had to chip the lagging off the tank to get it back out the window.

              And no Colin, I'm not joking, I just wish I was. A few things had my jaw dropping, you might even smile. As part of the refurb I'd bought new doorhandles for all the internal doors, I was in the process of putting them on so they were beside the doors I was painting or that I had to take the old handles off. Every single bleedin' one gone. I had emptied the boot of my car to take rubbish to the dump, so put my jump leads in the house. Gone. Had a strimmer, to replace the one the vandals had broken previously. Broken one hadn't made it to the dump. Not only did they take the new strimmer, they cut the wire off the broken one and nicked that too. As well as the several extension leads that were in the house.

              This morning I had a puncture. The streets of Surrey seem to be littered with tyre-ripping rubbish, must be about the sixth in the last two years.

              I have not had a good 2008 so far. Other rubbish happening in other areas mean I'm running out of the capacity to do a Vera Lynn and keep smiling through.

              Anyone got a Tardis I could borrow?
              Well at least you get the award for the most unlucky person of the year so far!

              Look on the bright side, it can only get better.

              Comment

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