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  • Buy-to-Let

    Tenant did not report full burglary damage

    Around 18 months ago one of my properties was burgled. The tenant visited my agent afterwards to report this, and said a window had been damaged. The quote to replace it was £350. The excess on my insurance is £250 so rather than claim, and risk a large premium increase for following years, I had the window fitted and paid for it myself.

    18 months on... The tenant called my agent to advise that both the front and back doors were damaged and unsafe. When the agent got back to her for further details she advised that they were damaged during the break in 18 months ago.

    It seems I'm now faced with a bill for several hundred pounds to replace the doors. If the tenant had advised of this damaged doors when she reported the window I would have made an insurance claim for all the damage, total cost to me £250.

    I'm looking for advice really, as the tenant appears to have breached the tenancy agreement by not reporting the doors. In practical terms, what can I do?

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    Didn't the tenant file a police report? You'd have needed that for the insurance claim. You'd imagine that damages may have been recorded as part of the report.

    Additionally shouldn't the agent have noticed this as part of their regular inspections? I would ask them why this wasn't picked up. 

    I'm being sceptical if the issues actually arose during the burglary or later. It's tenant damage through accident then they should pay for it.
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    Saagar

    Disclaimer: I have no legal expertise nor am I a qualified advisor on any subject. A humble landlord using an open forum to exchange ideas and experiences. 


    Hi Ricco,

    Have no mid-term property inspections been undertaken by the agent in the last 18 months?!

    The tenant should have reported all the damage at the time.  It seems odd that they are now saying doors were damaged 18 months ago, but they didn't bother to mention it at the time and they have managed for 18 months without a problem.

    In the first instance, I would recommend that you employ a tradesman to go and look at the doors and report on how he thinks the damage occurred.  He can also advise how much they are going to cost to fix.

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    The agent has told me that they have conducted a property visit since "the tenant did not mention it" No mention of of them not seeing the damage themselves.

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    It sounds a bit iffy to report a window but somehow failed to mention  2 doors

    It also sounds a bit iffy for the agent not to spot this on a subsequent visits

    18 months has passed so it really doesn't smell right

    Get someone you trust to look at it closely 

    A decent tradesman may well be able to ascertain whether its new or old damage

    Get them to report direct to you not the tenant nor the agent . Get pictures

    If they say its pretty def  recent damage you have a case

    Then I would have a face to face with the tenant and the agent to say this just doesn't add up 

    If you suspect some porkies suggest one /both need to put their hands in their pockets for this

    If they blank you  consider withholding the deposit  and front them out saying you suspect some kind of fraud or criminal damage may be going on and you will let the police sort it out . Tell them you spoke to a  scenes of crime officer the other week by chance  and they said they can pinpoint dates of damage  with remarkable accuracy these days . Drop in a few buzz words like enhanced infra red  techniques ,sonic testing , carbon dating  etc 

    That might get them wobbling and produce the desired result and they come clean .


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    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    Surely its the price you pay for choosing to have your management done for you and not keeping on top of things, all decisions have a degree of risk, its the ratio of good to bad ones that decides how successful your approach is. 18 months after the event is a bit late to be asking questions, had the property been inspected properly at the time you’d know what damage occurred at the time of the burglary.
    I’ve had two instances of brocken glass in front doors, both reported on a monday morning, mislaid keys after a night of excessive consumption the most likely cause in both cases but what can you prove, it was easier just to reglaze them, whilst proferring my thoughts of likely cause to tenant in none to delicate manner.
    Door fixed , tenant suitably embarrassed, cost them nothing, not a great deal for me, i’ve done my bit, they can’t complain. But woe betide if it happens again, but seeing as it was laminated glass as a replacement nowhere near as easy to get through.
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    Surely if a burglar damaged a window during a break in, he would not need to damage a front door AND a back door too.

    If the tenants have been happy for 18 months, then I cannot see damage being related to the break in.
    I’m not sure what action to take, it depends on how you feel about the tenants I suppose

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