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Grange
13-02-2008, 11:25 AM
Owing to a misunderstanding, L entered T's dwelling without T's permission.

T called a locksmith to change the locks - so that L could not do this again - and deducted the cost from the rent.

Was T justified in doing this? Or can L recover this sum from T?

Colincbayley
13-02-2008, 11:35 AM
In the circumstances I think the tenant is only being reasonable.

davidjohnbutton
13-02-2008, 11:45 AM
Changing the locks might be reasonable, but the arbitary deduction from the rent of the cost of a locksmith is in itself unreasonable.

Colincbayley
13-02-2008, 11:51 AM
Changing the locks might be reasonable, but the arbitary deduction from the rent of the cost of a locksmith is in itself unreasonable.


Not compared with a complaint for unlawfully entering the property!

jeffrey
13-02-2008, 12:02 PM
Grange:
1. Are you L or T?
2. Please expand on "misunderstanding" to which you referred. Was L innocent of wrongdoing?

pcwilkins
13-02-2008, 12:03 PM
Was T justified in doing this?

Yes; LL should be hoping that that is all that T has done; i.e. hoping that T isn't going to try and sue for harassment.


Or can L recover this sum from T?

LL could try, but might be better off keeping quiet and not provoking T any further.

Peter

Grange
13-02-2008, 12:25 PM
As L

L was not innocent of wrongdoing.
L entered T's dwelling without T's permission L was a new L, having just inherited property and misunderstood his obligations to provide 24 hours' notice in writing.

pcwilkins
13-02-2008, 13:25 PM
Whoops! I should keep quiet about it if I were you.

Peter

PaulF
13-02-2008, 18:57 PM
There is nothing in law to prevent a tenant changing the locks of a property at their own expense, and certainly not if a landlord has entered unlawfully. I think the landlord should definitely back down concerning the deduction from the rent as other posters have said

heather5
13-02-2008, 20:25 PM
I was faced with the same scenario recently as a tenant - LL entered property unannounced despite being a let through an agency.

LL just turned up - when I was guaranteed to be at work - however next door neighbour has CCTV on the area - and caught him on camera!!

Whilst LL in the property agency rang up to say that the LL was putting the property on the market - although I had 7 months to run on my tenancy.

So changed the locks - kept the old ones. Paid for the new ones myself - still had to by law let in agency and EAs for valuations etc - so had no control over who copied the keys!!!

Paid for them to be changed back when I left.

For me it was about my insurance company - because I've had this stuff happen before and my identity was stolen and £4000 from my bank account - court stuff etc happened then - but never recompensed for that from courts or LL.

Tenant can do it - but has to restore afterwards.

But how stupid that despite doing it and paying so much for it - my case over £300 - I still had to let in LA, and anyone associated the EA selling - and no control over that despite 7 months to run.

Have posted before - have raised with local MP - and no reply despite many letters.

But I would say if you are the LL - don't push it - if someone has spent that much changing locks - they are serious - and either a) have reasons as I did or b) are a tenant who really knows the law.

islandgirl
13-02-2008, 21:50 PM
Paid for the new ones myself - still had to by law let in agency and EAs for valuations etc - so had no control over who copied the keys!!!
Bit late now, but no you didn't have to let them in by law...quite the opposite!

pcwilkins
14-02-2008, 09:05 AM
still had to by law let in agency and EAs for valuations etc

Which law is this, then?

Peter

davidjohnbutton
14-02-2008, 10:59 AM
whilst I completely understand the tenant wanting to change the locks in order to prevent any possible reoccurance of the landlord entering without permission, that in itself does not give rise to the liability of the landlord to pay for the new locks and the locksmith to fit them because the tenant did a voluntary act. If this were not so, a tenant could replace all the landlord's fittings he liked in the property saying that the fittings that were there were inadequate/in disrepair etc and make the landlord pay!

As far as the tenant demanding compensation for breach of contract or criminal law relating to the actual entry itself which was due to a misunderstanding - it is my belief that a single entry in itself would be insufficient to support a harassment charge because there has to be two or more occasions of transgressions - so no criminal offence and I doubt a court would award anything for one single small transgression causing no actual loss as a civil claim.

The danger in the landlord accepting the bill against rent, is that when the tenant comes to leave, he might well get billed again for replacement of the original locks.

My own view would be to say to the tenant, cough up the proper rent and you will be shown in arrears until you do and I won't renew your tenancy if there are arrears (if applicable) and if you feel aggrieved by my "misunderstanding" then the court to issue your summons in is xx County Court.

pcwilkins
14-02-2008, 11:06 AM
whilst I completely understand the tenant wanting to change the locks in order to prevent any possible reoccurance of the landlord entering without permission, that in itself does not give rise to the liability of the landlord to pay for the new locks and the locksmith to fit them because the tenant did a voluntary act.

Perhaps; but it would be a brave LL who would try to wriggle out of paying if they'd illegally entered the property.


If this were not so, a tenant could replace all the landlord's fittings he liked in the property saying that the fittings that were there were inadequate/in disrepair etc and make the landlord pay!

Surely you aren't saying that T changing the locks to stop LL illegally entering is the same as T changing lampshades? It's completely different!


As far as the tenant demanding compensation for breach of contract or criminal law relating to the actual entry itself which was due to a misunderstanding

Not really a misunderstanding, just ignorance.


it is my belief that a single entry in itself would be insufficient to support a harassment charge because there has to be two or more occasions of transgressions

Oh right, so every LL is ok to enter their property illegally, as long as they only do it once? :rolleyes:


so no criminal offence and I doubt a court would award anything for one single small transgression causing no actual loss as a civil claim.

I wouldn't like to be the LL to test your opinion!


The danger in the landlord accepting the bill against rent, is that when the tenant comes to leave, he might well get billed again for replacement of the original locks.

I don't think so --- surely if LL has paid for new locks, the new locks belong to LL and T cannot take them away on leaving.


My own view would be to say to the tenant, cough up the proper rent and you will be shown in arrears until you do and I won't renew your tenancy if there are arrears (if applicable) and if you feel aggrieved by my "misunderstanding" then the court to issue your summons in is xx County Court.

And when T does take you to court, you'd be happy to stand up in front of the judge and say that you "didn't know" that you weren't allowed to enter the property without permission? And expect the judge to "let you off" because you "only did it once"?

You're a brave man!

Peter

Colincbayley
14-02-2008, 11:09 AM
Sorry DJB, I have to agree with Peter on this one.
The LL was in the wrong. That doesn't make the tenant correct in changing the locks and billing the LL, but in this situation I think it is best to just pay up, shut up and learn from the mistake.

davidjohnbutton
14-02-2008, 13:38 PM
Whether to "put up or shut up" is the relevant landlord's choice and for him to decide - I merely voiced my view.

I do not think that a landlord who makes a mistake like this would be heavily punished if it came to a civil court - there is no actual loss to compensate for - just the breach of privacy. It might be that the damages would be nominal - even as low as 1p - its happened before!!!!!

I am not saying its ok to do a breach like this once and only get into trouble on the second occasion - what I am saying is that in the eyes of the criminal law, doing it once (so far as harassment is concerned) would result in a warning, doing it a second time would amount to a course of conduct on two or more occasions which is prosecutable.

Here, we have a landlord who has done wrong by entering illegally and a tenant who has done wrong by changing the locks and deducting from rent - not a very nice recipe for future relationships at all!

We dont come with an encyclopaedia of the rule of law built in - it is taught to us over time - we generally know the rules about for example motoring (the need for a driving licence, insurance, MOT and tax for example) but many landlords are new and go into their venture with great inexperience and they do things that seasoned landlords would never think of doing and you are right, ignorance is no excuse - thats why I always say to landlords, "If you dont know what you are doing, or how to so it, pay someone who does - its a lot cheaper in the long run"

Grange
14-02-2008, 14:33 PM
I would agree it wasn't very clever of L, particularly with a protected tenant.

However. L has a s57 Rent Act overpayment, and a possession order. Based on the foregoing, I am fairly happy with the idea of deducting the cost.

pcwilkins
15-02-2008, 08:26 AM
I do not think that a landlord who makes a mistake like this would be heavily punished if it came to a civil court - there is no actual loss to compensate for - just the breach of privacy.

It wasn't a mistake, it was just ignorance. And if the LL did it 100 times, they'd be no actual loss to compensate for either, just the breach of privacy.


It might be that the damages would be nominal - even as low as 1p - its happened before!!!!!

If I were a LL I'd rather pay for the new locks than risk the hassle of a court case, even if the damages were only 1p.


I am not saying its ok to do a breach like this once and only get into trouble on the second occasion

But you did say


it is my belief that a single entry in itself would be insufficient to support a harassment charge because there has to be two or more occasions of transgressions

When you say "there has to be two or more occasions of transgressions" it does sound a bit like your saying that "its ok to do a breach like this once".


what I am saying is that in the eyes of the criminal law, doing it once (so far as harassment is concerned) would result in a warning, doing it a second time would amount to a course of conduct on two or more occasions which is prosecutable.

I'm not convinced --- is there some legal rule which backs up what you're saying? I always thought that if something was illegal, it was illegal, no matter if you hadn't done it before.


Here, we have a landlord who has done wrong by entering illegally and a tenant who has done wrong by changing the locks and deducting from rent - not a very nice recipe for future relationships at all!

I quite agree --- but if I were the tenant I probably would have done something very similar.


We dont come with an encyclopaedia of the rule of law built in - it is taught to us over time

Sorry, but it is this kind of argument that gets me rather cross. Of course we don't come with an encyclopaedia of the rule of law built in, but if a person wants to run a business it's their responsibility to know what the law says and not just pick it up over time.

If a person can't be bothered to read the relevant laws or isn't capable of understanding them, they're not fit to be a landlord.

Your argument is like a commercial pilot saying "I didn't come with an encyclopaedia of flying built in, I'm just learning as I go along --- I didn't know I had to wait for permission before landing". The fact is that pilots learn how to fly first, and then carry paying passengers. Likewise, a new LL should learn how to be a LL first, and then start being a LL.


we generally know the rules about for example motoring (the need for a driving licence, insurance, MOT and tax for example)

Yes, we know these things because we take the trouble to learn them. A person who started driving before they learned the need for insurance would have no chance of getting away with saying "Well, I'm a new driver, I didn't know I had to have insurance." And yet you are suggesting that it is acceptable for a LL to argue that because they are new, it's ok if they don't know all the rules.


but many landlords are new and go into their venture with great inexperience

But inexperience and ignorance are two entirely different things! I would be quite happy flying with an inexperienced pilot, if I was confident that he knew what he was doing. But I would be very unhappy to fly with a pilot who had flown for years, but hadn't yet learned the rules of the air.

Similarly I'm quite happy for inexperienced LLs to be LLs --- as long as they have taken the trouble to learn their responsibilities instead of thinking its ok for them to learn as they go along.


and they do things that seasoned landlords would never think of doing

But if they do things which are illegal, there is no excuse. For example, in this case the LL clearly did not even investigate whether he was allowed to enter the property, he just did it. That isn't acceptable, no matter how "un-seasoned" the LL is. Not entering without T's permission is basic, basic stuff --- you don't have to be a seasoned landlord to know that you can't just go in when you want!


and you are right, ignorance is no excuse - thats why I always say to landlords, "If you dont know what you are doing, or how to so it, pay someone who does - its a lot cheaper in the long run"

I'd rather you said "If you don't know what you are doing, or how to do it, then learn! and if you aren't clever enough, then do something else."

Sorry for the rant, I'll calm down now.

Peter

Grange
15-02-2008, 08:58 AM
But PC wilkins I think you're missing the point. T's recourse against L is for a case of harassment. This incident would be good contributory evidence in a court of law, but harassment is over a period with a number of incidents. This particular one is pretty mild.

There is no loss to sue for.

It's a bit like saying speeding is wrong and you should be punished- but 3 points is not a tangible punishment for a first time offence.

[It doesn't alter the fact that L broke the law, and was foolish.]

pcwilkins
15-02-2008, 09:38 AM
But PC wilkins I think you're missing the point. T's recourse against L is for a case of harassment. This incident would be good contributory evidence in a court of law, but harassment is over a period with a number of incidents. This particular one is pretty mild.

Point taken; I did go a bit too far. That's what happens when I see red! :o

Peter

Colincbayley
15-02-2008, 10:03 AM
Point taken; I did go a bit too far. That's what happens when I see red!

Peter

Most people stop when the lights are red! That will be 3 points and a 60 quid fine please! :D

pcwilkins
15-02-2008, 11:42 AM
That will be 3 points and a 60 quid fine please! :D

You're welcome to the points, and the fine; I certainly don't want them...

Peter

jeffrey
15-02-2008, 11:51 AM
You're welcome to the points, and the fine; I certainly don't want them...

Peter
But points mean prizes.
What do points mean?
Prizes!

pcwilkins
15-02-2008, 13:03 PM
But points mean prizes.

Do points mean prizes, or does points mean prizes?

Points mean prizes, or points means prizes?

jeffrey
15-02-2008, 13:14 PM
Do points mean prizes, or does points mean prizes?

Points mean prizes, or points means prizes?
Points are obviously the mathematical average of prizes. That's what "mean" means.

Colincbayley
15-02-2008, 14:00 PM
Not sure I know what you mean?

Does that mean I win a prize?

pcwilkins
15-02-2008, 15:31 PM
Does that mean I win a prize?

Depends. What's your point?

Peter

Colincbayley
15-02-2008, 15:54 PM
Depends. What's your point?

Peter

Good Point!

jeffrey
17-02-2008, 16:38 PM
But what's the point of a decimal?

Surrey
17-02-2008, 23:42 PM
A tenth of a prize?




(sorry for the hijack, by the way - the rest of the hijackers are just far too rude to apologise!)

pcwilkins
18-02-2008, 08:21 AM
(sorry for the hijack, by the way - the rest of the hijackers are just far too rude to apologise!)

Reminds me...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkVEif0WKoQ

Peter