Daughter burgled at university

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Sutherland1
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Daughter burgled at university

Postby Sutherland1 » Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:11 pm

My daughter lives in a house with six other people and they were burgled last week. The police came and said that the burglar either had a key or picked the lock. The landlord is refusing to change the lock and will not allow us to change the lock. There are potentially hundreds of people who might have a key as it is let to a large group each year. My daughter's room is on the ground floor so she is understandably worried. Really grateful for any advice about whether there is a legal onus on the landlord to protect his tenants or not? . Thank you
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SW12Pops
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Re: Daughter burgled at university

Postby SW12Pops » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:11 pm

Ok there are a number of competing issues here.

Btw I am NOT a lawyer but there is some pretty clear legal advice.

1. the landlord has a duty of care. Some of that duty of care is obvious (property needs a roof!) but some is less obvious. You might be able to argue that a duty of care the landlord has is ensure that the locks are "fit for purpose" and that if there are unknown numbers of copies of keys then I would argue that it's not fit for purpose. A letter from the police saying that the thief MAY have had a copy of the key may help your case here.

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housi ... ibilities/

https://www.gov.uk/private-renting/repairs

2. The landlord is NOT allowed to enter the home when it is rented out without the tenants permission. Anything that the contract says that contradicts this is not allowable by law. 

https://www.propertyinvestmentproject.c ... -of-entry/

So you could easily argue that you can change the locks and that the landlord can't do anything about it as it does not affect the rights of that landlord i.e. they can't enter anyway without permission. They may argue that they want copies of the keys etc, an you should give landlord new copies, but they can't stop you changing them.

3. I would do this...

a) write to the landlord and cc in Trading Standards AND the local university student welfare. 
b) explain that your daughter has been burgled and police believe that copies of the keys are in circulation
c) give the landlord 7 days to change the locks or explain you'll be changing them yourself 
d) if the landlord says no explain that you'll be holding him/her liable for any further damage under his/her duty of care
e) speak to university and ask if they can help put pressure

hope this helps - sounds like a horrible situtation
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Sutherland1
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Re: Daughter burgled at university

Postby Sutherland1 » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:23 pm

This is incredibly helpful - thank you so much. One of the issues is that the agency won't give my daughter and her friends the landlord's name and address but I will follow your advice and get them to write c/o the agency. 
Thanks again!
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SW12Pops
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Re: Daughter burgled at university

Postby SW12Pops » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:41 pm

I think the letting agency is playing very fast and very loose.

The letting MUST supply the details, by law.

It's not an option.

https://www.thetenantsvoice.co.uk/advic ... ndlord-is/

If I was your daughter I would go in there in person with a letter and write that you demand to know the landlord and hand over the letter.

I'd also speak to the university and ask them for help - they must have a welfare office.

I'd also write that you are currently holding the agent liable, both personally and as a company, for any problems that may occur whilst you wait for them to fulfil their legal duty. I'd also ask to write to their insurance company to check they have the coverage in place to cover you for this and I'd also tell them that you're contacting the police as you believe they're running a business that breaks the law.

I'd go tonto on them and see how they react - they sound like bullies...

 
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marmarzet
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Re: Daughter burgled at university

Postby marmarzet » Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:19 pm

So sorry to hear this has happened to your daughter - what a horrible experience.

I had a thought about HMOs which might be useful - though note I'm also not a lawyer. Given there are 7 people living in the house, it sounds like the property should have an HMO licence. I believe this always gives the landlord's details (name and address). I've lived in several HMOs and this licence has always been displayed on the wall just inside the front door, though I'm not sure if this is a requirement. The HMO licence system is run by the council, so if the letting agents aren't forthcoming on the landlord's details the council may be worth a try.

Good luck!
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Lola123
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Re: Daughter burgled at university

Postby Lola123 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:06 am

Just change the locks - what is he going to do? They are not going to kick out the students mid year as they could not fill the property and all they care about is money!
I’m saying this as a parent of a child at Uni and we’re in a similar situation- also get a letter from the police saying the locks need to be changed.
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Denwand
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Re: Daughter burgled at university

Postby Denwand » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:52 am

Great advice from SW12POPS above.

ANother point - you say "lock" rather than "locks" which would make sense in a shared student house - we are probably only talking about the front door lock here.

So a single lock barrel change cannot be more than, say, £30, plus another £30 for new keys and £50 for fitting so around £110 cost - certainly not more than £150 (the whole amount also claimable on tax).

What sort of landlord would quibble over such a petty amount? 

I would definitely press them to change it.

 
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wendyjo
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Re: Daughter burgled at university

Postby wendyjo » Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:32 pm

Lots of good advice above - If I were in that situation I'd be included to change the lock and pay for it myself. It's a shame the landlord is being fussy over a small amount of money, but I'm not entirely surprised.

On a side-note, does your daughter have her own contract for a room in the property or are they sharing a contract between seven of them? If the former, she should have a lock on her bedroom door as well, which hopefully will make her feel a little safer considering the circumstances.

Best of luck
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