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View Full Version : Locks/lights defective- so landlord negligent if burglary?



Bluke
31-03-2009, 11:36 AM
Hi, I'm a tenant and I was burgled, and I think I have a may have a case for negligence against my landlord. What do you think-

1. The Security light by the door (it goes on when people move near it) broke and they agreed repreatedly to fix it for over a month before the burglery, several times specifying dates, and nothing ever happened and it was not fixed. The burglery occured when it was dark in the evening.

2. The lock on the door, according to two different police officers, was extremely feeble and easy to slip- not something I could complain about though as it would be unreasonable for a tenant to have a specialist knowledge of locks.

Any case here do you think? I think that the repeated failure to fix broken security features after multiple reminders in a long timeframe ought to count, but whether it does in practice or not I'm not sure.

SALL
31-03-2009, 12:14 PM
Hi, I'm a tenant and I was burgled, and I think I have a may have a case for negligence against my landlord. What do you think-

1. The Security light by the door (it goes on when people move near it) broke and they agreed repreatedly to fix it for over a month before the burglery, several times specifying dates, and nothing ever happened and it was not fixed. The burglery occured when it was dark in the evening.

2. The lock on the door, according to two different police officers, was extremely feeble and easy to slip- not something I could complain about though as it would be unreasonable for a tenant to have a specialist knowledge of locks.

Any case here do you think? I think that the repeated failure to fix broken security features after multiple reminders in a long timeframe ought to count, but whether it does in practice or not I'm not sure.

Do you have insurance for content? Why not let the insurance company sort it out.

Mars Mug
31-03-2009, 12:18 PM
Is it a security light, or a door courtesy light? Either way I doubt it would stop a burglar if it was working, might even make breaking in easier. It’s also debatable whether the standard of the lock would make much of a difference.

Lawcruncher
31-03-2009, 14:13 PM
Any case here do you think?


No. There is only one person responsible for the burglary - the burglar.

mind the gap
31-03-2009, 14:14 PM
No. There is only one person responsible for the burglary - the burglar.

The problem is convincing him of that.

jeffrey
31-03-2009, 14:45 PM
The problem is convincing him of that.
Or convicting him of that.

Poppy
31-03-2009, 15:10 PM
I agree it would have been good for your landlord to have fixed the light sooner. Write to your landlord, inform him that the light must be fixed quickly and if it is not fixed say within one week, you will obtain the necessary parts and deduct the cost from the rent.

You can't blame the landlord for "inviting" a burglary. Millions of people in this country don't have any security lights on their properties. Did you know many villages without street lights have the lowest reported crime?

What the Police told you about the lock is guesswork.

Were you home at the time of the burglary? Have you bought contents insurance for your belongings? (Hope so.)

Burglars break in or attempt to break in to many properties unfortunately. You'd be living in some sort of fantasy land if you think security lights alone stop them trying.

agent46
31-03-2009, 15:21 PM
No. There is only one person responsible for the burglary - the burglar.

I disagree. OP's case is weak, but arguable and therefore it's worth a punt.

- There is authority for the view that a person who leaves a property in an insecure state is liable in negligence for the loss occasioned by a burglary. I haven't the time to look up the case, but it involved a gardener leaving a house unlocked.

- If the LL is held to be obliged to keep the security light in repair, then he may be liable.

- However, OP will probably have big problems with causation. It appears that the cause of the burglary was probably the poor quality lock rather than the failure of the light. The LL will not be liable for the lock, bceause whilst it was poor quality, it seems that it was in repair at the time of the loss.

- If OP succeeds, the LL and the burglar would be joint and several tortfeasors (LL in negligence, burglar in trespass to land, goods and, also, conversion); if he's ever caught, the LL could recover contribution from the burglar.

mind the gap
31-03-2009, 15:26 PM
- If OP succeeds, the LL and the burglar would be joint and several tortfeasors (LL in negligence, burglar in trespass to land, goods and, also, conversion); if he's ever caught, the LL could recover contribution from the burglar.

I can just imagine the burglar in his stripey jumper, slipping LL a tenner from the dock, and saying 'There's my contribution, guv. Buy yerself something nice, mate'.

Bluke
31-03-2009, 16:15 PM
Thanks for your help guys.

I agree that the lock is not really an issue in a legal sense. Yes, it's bad but it is still a working lock. So the issue remains the security light.

While I appreciate that the security light is probably not the first line of defence against a burgler, it is still a security feature that came with the property that I rented and that they did not fix within a long timeframe after multiple reminders. My front door is close to several others in a place with no lighting, and had a bright light been shining on the burgler while they vandalised the lock that might have stopped them- not definately, but there is still a chance. That's why the light's there, after all.

If landlords were not liable for any broken security features which they refused or failed to fix then that would obviously be silly. So the question here is really whether this security light counts as an important component of the property's security. I think it's arguable that it is.

bunny
31-03-2009, 19:40 PM
I had a property I manage burgled a couple of weeks ago. It had a newly fitted security light fitted pretty high up above the front door with a movement sensor. The burglars smashed it. It also had a metal security gate over the front door. The burglars got it off. They wrenched the lock off somehow with mole grips or similar and then kicked down the UPVC door. Tenant came home to find most of the UPVC door the other end of the living room.

I had a security light fitted on this property for a reason and it was as much use as a chocolate fireguard.

I thought the security was pretty good before. I now have anti break locks, my specification to door company was that I want the best door that can't be kicked in (!!) and the security gate has been welded beyond belief. Stuff the security light :p

Burglaries happen. I've been burgled myself whilst asleep in bed in my own home. It isn't nice but it happens. There isn't usually anyone to blame other than the burglar! of course there are measures that can be taken to reduce the chance of being burgled.

mind the gap
31-03-2009, 19:57 PM
I had a property I manage burgled a couple of weeks ago. It had a newly fitted security light fitted pretty high up above the front door with a movement sensor. The burglars smashed it. It also had a metal security gate over the front door. The burglars got it off. They wrenched the lock off somehow with mole grips or similar and then kicked down the UPVC door. Tenant came home to find most of the UPVC door the other end of the living room.

I had a security light fitted on this property for a reason and it was as much use as a chocolate fireguard.

I thought the security was pretty good before. I now have anti break locks, my specification to door company was that I want the best door that can't be kicked in (!!) and the security gate has been welded beyond belief. Stuff the security light :p

Burglaries happen. I've been burgled myself whilst asleep in bed in my own home. It isn't nice but it happens. There isn't usually anyone to blame other than the burglar! of course there are measures that can be taken to reduce the chance of being burgled.

I agree. You just have to hope you get stupid burglars, rather than clever ones.

When we were burgled, they made off with lots of CD boxes (many of them empty), an empty laptop case, a watch which didn't work, a briefcase full of not very good essays about 'Hamlet' and a bottle of milk. They opened my daughter's flute case (the flute was by far the most expensive thing they could have taken, but didn't), but discarded the flute and its case on the sofa, so fortunately it wasn't damaged. They did take the car keys (to a Nissan Micra with ignition too smart for them), gave up trying to start it, but turned up at the local Nissan dealer the day after, asking how to do it. Fortunately, we had been there too that morning, to get the locks re-programmed (police had advised robbers might come back for the vehicle)...dealer was able to provide a full description which led to an arrest.

Lawcruncher
31-03-2009, 20:03 PM
...which led to an arrest.

Who says out policemen are not wonderful?

mind the gap
31-03-2009, 20:05 PM
Who says out policemen are not wonderful?

Out of what?!

bunny
31-03-2009, 20:18 PM
MTG, you bought back memories, burglars can be very stupid!

I've been burgled a few times in my life, well 3 times, all in different properties, twice when I was a student, once as a homeowner.

As a student, returned home from a drunken end of term night out. Didn't notice the back door kicked in or the microwave missing having walked through the kitchen, staggered up the stairs, passed the odd random shoe, a few study books on the stairs etc. Got to the bedroom, sat on the bed and thought the room looked odd - the oddness was that my packed bags ready to go home, TV, stereo etc were gone and the shoe and books were bits they dropped on the way. The good news, whilst back home the police called to say they had caught the burglars and I got everything (almost) back. All covered in silver finger print dust!

When I was burgled in my current home, they got through the kitchen window, pushed the sofa against the lounge door, found my house keys (I never leave them downstairs now), let themselves out the patio doors with my keys and took the stereo, handbag (which contained my WORLD), mobile phone etc etc.

Here's the funny bit, they stole two boxes of chocolates I'd been given for my birthday, left the entire CD collection, the DVD player etc, they got away with both/my only sets of car keys to a brand new car, left the car on the drive and took their goodies away in MY wheelie bin which they emptied into MY garden beforehand. I never heard a thing. Had to have all the locks changed on the car etc.


So pleased to hear stories where the perpetrators are caught :D

jeffrey
31-03-2009, 20:18 PM
Out of what?!
'Out policemen' is probably a G20 protestor's illiterate chant.
Or the opposite of 'In policemen'; if you take out the 'in', it leaves 'polcema'.

Mars Mug
31-03-2009, 20:34 PM
In October 2007 four burglars broke into my house at 4:20 a.m., I am a systems engineer and have my own home made security system, five IP cameras and a PIR light switch in the lounge (plus several other devices). The burglars were recorded from the time they arrived in their car to the time they left. They stole my car keys (but not the car) my wallet, and my prescription sunglasses. They were in the house for just 20 seconds, frightened off by the lounge lights automatically turning on.

I didn’t even know we had been burgled until I checked the security recordings when I got to work, they locked the door on the way out, I just couldn’t find my wallet and car keys when I got up that day.

Five people were arrested and convicted in relation to the burglary, and I was told they were from two teams working the area.

They had already been arrested when I saw my company Amex statement a few weeks later and there was a petrol charge for about £15, but I always fill up so it was strange, it was from the morning of the burglary. The police picked up the security recordings from the petrol station for even more evidence.

agent46
31-03-2009, 20:49 PM
Who says out policemen are not wonderful?

Who? Like Brian Paddick you mean?

Lawcruncher
31-03-2009, 21:15 PM
Out of what?!

Were it not the case that "r" is next to "t" I would put that down as a Freudian slip. "Out" policeman are bound to be wonderful.

I typ fast, bit inaccruateyl1.

mind the gap
31-03-2009, 21:20 PM
Were it not the case that "r" is next to "t" I would put that down as a Freudian slip. "Out" policeman are bound to be wonderful.

I typ fast, bit inaccruateyl1.

I agree with Crawluncher! Outies are best, whether navels or policemen. There's nothing more depressing than an 'in' policeman.

mind the gap
31-03-2009, 21:28 PM
As a student, returned home from a drunken end of term night out. Didn't notice the back door kicked in or the microwave missing having walked through the kitchen, staggered up the stairs, passed the odd random shoe, a few study books on the stairs etc.

Obviously a good night out!

Didn't notice the front door kicked in? You weren't in Byker, (Newcastle), were you, by any chance?!

Lawcruncher
31-03-2009, 21:48 PM
Outies are best, whether navels or policemen.

When it comes to navels, innies are best. They are useful as somewhere to keep the salt when you are eating in bed.

mind the gap
31-03-2009, 21:53 PM
When it comes to navels, innies are best. They are useful as somewhere to keep the salt when you are eating in bed.

I think not. The salt has a dreadful tendency to get mixed up with the fluff, unless one scrubs one's navel out with a toothbrush before eating chips in bed. Life's too short.

And outie navels are always good indicators of an umbilical hernia, which it is better to know about than ignore.

bunny
01-04-2009, 20:24 PM
Obviously a good night out!

Didn't notice the front door kicked in? You weren't in Byker, (Newcastle), were you, by any chance?!

Yes, it was a great night as I recall! No, not Newcastle but another northern town. And it was the back door not the front so I think I can be excused for not noticing it had been kicked in ! It was nothing to do with the alcohol:p


Well done you Mars Mug! Don't you just love techies! My house is a bit like fort knox now but not to your extent with lights coming on. Yet another success of a burglar being caught!!!

(Isn't it grammatically incorrect to start a new sentence with "and"? Ahh what the heck!)

mind the gap
01-04-2009, 20:47 PM
(Isn't it grammatically incorrect to start a new sentence with "and"? Ahh what the heck!)

Only in formal written texts! LLZ = only moderately formal and people often write as they speak, especially in less serious posts. So it's fine. And if it isn't...tough!

Mars Mug
02-04-2009, 07:06 AM
Well done you Mars Mug! Don't you just love techies! My house is a bit like fort knox now but not to your extent with lights coming on. Yet another success of a burglar being caught!!!

I think something like 12-16 were caught, two teams, but we were only informed about the 5 directly connected to our burglary.

The light switch is not expensive, and just replaces a normal single way switch;

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=45045

I have my house wired up, recordings last up to six months. Even my shed is on the internet with its own e-mail account, it gets lots of spam mail for Viagra etc. When someone goes in the shed the pressure mat, door switch, and PIR all send me an e-mail.

It has also helped with Mrs Mug’s grass cutting activities. I was able to monitor at work how long it took her to cut the top lawn and suggest an enhanced route round the lawn to reduce the cutting time (went from 15 minutes to less than 10).

agent46
02-04-2009, 09:22 AM
It has also helped with Mrs Mug’s grass cutting activities. I was able to monitor at work how long it took her to cut the top lawn and suggest an enhanced route round the lawn to reduce the cutting time (went from 15 minutes to less than 10).

Let me get this straight. Your shed has an email account and it spies on your wife? And, then, using the intelligence that your shed gathered on your wife, you calculated the optimum grass-cutting route, which you now expect her to follow when mowing the lawn?

Are you serious? Are you still married? :D

Mars Mug
02-04-2009, 09:35 AM
The shed does know when anyone goes in there and it sends me e-mails to let me know, but it does not spy on Mrs Mug, I do that from work using the time-stamped motion detection security camera that overlooks the back garden.

I am serious, most things on my network have e-mail accounts, I even have a hard drive that sends me an e-mail at 9:00 p.m. each day to tell me how it is feeling and how full it is.

I am not married to Mrs Mug, though we have been engaged for about 15 years.

jta
02-04-2009, 10:07 AM
It has also helped with Mrs Mug’s grass cutting activities. I was able to monitor at work how long it took her to cut the top lawn and suggest an enhanced route round the lawn to reduce the cutting time (went from 15 minutes to less than 10).

So with all that time she saved, what other jobs did you add to her workload?
We don't want her idling around do we.

Mars Mug
02-04-2009, 10:11 AM
Her initial route round the lawn was somewhat erratic, a bit like a bumper car at a fairground (thankfully she does not drive), I simply suggested a more efficient route when mowing the lawn.

I also have a lounge camera so know when she is dusting, but I’m not too good at dusting myself so leave her to it. The other four cameras are external so I can’t monitor her washing up and ironing, though I can tell when she is ironing because the front camera is in the kitchen and fogs up a little in winter.