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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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A former management company used keys it retained after we

Customer Question

This complaint is about a tenanted house that I am responsible for.  I instructed a management company to fit a new cooker.  When they failed to present a gas safe certificate or break down the invoice successfully, I ended my contract with them.

The now former management company used keys it retained after we ended our agreement to enter the property and take back a cooker where a part paid invoice was in dispute.  The invoice is in dispute, but I have never stated I would not pay it.  They were asked to show that it did not need a Gas Safe certificate and to break down the invoice further. £80 had already been paid and £160 returned in an administrative error.  No warning or T&Cs indicated they would act in this way.

The property, in Manchester, was tenanted and they were given no notice of the impending visit. It is believed that they were not gas safe engineers. The police will not investigate and I have raised a complaint.

Are the police right? Because the invoice was not fully paid,did they have a right to reclaim the goods. It was never suggested that the invoice would not be paid, the company had agreed to break the invoice down and resubmit.

Can the Police refuse to investigate? If a criminal act has taken place, how can I compel them to act?

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts :

my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Alex Watts :

What does your contract say about termination please?

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Alex, There was no formal contract with the management company. They were given access to the property to carry out maintenance on a job by job basis. They knew they must give tenants 24 hours notice in the Landlord and & tenant act. After they failed, in my view, to fit the cooker described in my question in accordance with current legal rules ( tenanted property), failed to provide a Gas Safe certificate; I made it clear that they would no longer be instructed to carry our work . We made an agreement, via an SMS service, maintenance company to post the keys through the letterbox (I live some distance away). Instead the kept a key and went and removed the cooker - possibly illegally (no gas safe engineer).

Alex Watts :

Thanks. What is it you want to achieve?

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

I want a police investigation into the crime (separate from any civil action that could also be warranted).

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Are you really allowed to break in (okay they used a key - but they were not authorised to hold it), take the cooker (possibly endangering the tenants), remove it from the premises, without a license or a court order?

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Can the Police refuse to investigate? If a criminal act has taken place, how can I compel them to act?

Alex Watts :

Can the Police refuse, yes. Sadly you can't make them, they are under no duty to do so.

Alex Watts :

The management company are not allowed to break in no

Alex Watts :

The Police can obviously but not the management company

Alex Watts :

Sadly based on what you have said, I think this is a civil matter.

Alex Watts :

You cant make the Police investigate or prosecute. Once you register a complaint that is all you can sadly do

Alex Watts :

I am sorry if this is not the answer you want and certainly not the one I want to give you, but I have a duty to be honest

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything about this today please?

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Has a crime been committed in your view - if so what crime has been commisioned?

Alex Watts :

It may be criminal damage and/or theft.

Alex Watts :

But if the Police do not want to pursue it that means it is a civil matter

Alex Watts :

Sadly you can't force the Police to investigate or prosecute.

Alex Watts :

I am sorry, but I do have to be honest

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

I understand that you can't compel the Police to act, but if I am making a complaint, it will help my case to be able to say that a qualified legal professional believes that, on the face of it, a crime has been committed. Or to be told that that it is unlikely that a crime has been committed, only a tort.

Alex Watts :

Yes you can say that. You can ask that they review their decision, but there is no guarantee

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else ?

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Does the fact the invoice has not been fully paid a part of this answer?

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Can some "steal" back from you something you have yet to fully pay for?

Alex Watts :

No

Alex Watts :

You may not have title until paid for, but they cant just take it back

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Why can't they just take it back - this is what the police are saying - is there somehitng I can quote?

Alex Watts :

This is criminal damage and theft - they are assuming the rights of the owner which they are not.

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Sorru - can I just clarify

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Is the difference between title and ownership.

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

YOu say I don't have tittle - yet it would be criminal damage and theft to recover the cooker.

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Thanks.

Alex Watts : They removed the cooker, that is an offence
Alex Watts : Does that clarify?
Alex Watts :

If this answers your question could I invite you rate my answer before you leave today.


If the system won’t let you please click reply.



Please bookmark my profile if you wish help: http://www.justanswer.co.uk/law/expert-alexwatts/

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

They removed the cooker, that is an offence




2:42 PM


Does that clarify?

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

====

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Not really

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

They removed the cooker committing x offence and y offence in that they did z. That would help.

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

How what they did criminal damage - I don't understand the elements of this crime

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

The difference between ownership and title would clarify

Alex Watts :

If they removed it, didnt they damage the door? Didn't they damage anything removing it? If so that is criminal damage

Alex Watts :

Title is where you own and have paid item

Alex Watts :

You can't sell something without having title

Alex Watts :

You can own something or be the keeper, such as a car

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

"used keys it retained after we ended our agreement "

Alex Watts :

So if you have a car on finance, although you own it you dont have title

Alex Watts :

Therefore that is the difference, it still technically belongs to the finance company

Alex Watts :

Re keys -in that case it is just theft

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

YOu can have title without ownderhip

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

when something is held in trust

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

But I don't know how it apploes here

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

becasue the tenants had the enjoyoment

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

The title could argued to be sahred

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Becasue I paid £80

Alex Watts :

They have taken something back.

Alex Watts :

They were not entitled to

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

And the owenership - was the tenants

Alex Watts :

They had assumed the rights of the owner - thereby it is theft

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

becasue it's on their inventory

Alex Watts :

In any event why dont you just take them to County Court?

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

So ownership is key here

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

but

Alex Watts :

Anything less than £10,000 is a small claim

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

don't they just have to have a resonable believ

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

that the cooker was theirs

Alex Watts :

No

Alex Watts :

However take them to Court, it would be a small claim

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

that's what the police told me

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Something about intent

Alex Watts :

County Court is a civil matter.

Alex Watts :

The Police wont be interested price of a cooker.

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Theft isn't

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Nor I

Alex Watts :

Yes but you an sue of contract

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

It's not worth it

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

This question is purely about the crimnal elements

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Becasue once you get into civil - the crimial gets lost

Alex Watts :

Its breach of contract because they failed to fit the cooker properly, failed to provide a gas safety certificate. The cooker wasnt fit in accordance with legislation. Therefore its breach of contract - civil

Alex Watts :

Theft:

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Yes I agreee

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

I kind of know all that

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

100%

Alex Watts :

Appropriation of property belonging to another with permenant intention to deprive

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Now that's of more interest

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

In essence

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

I don't think that they had the right - even with keys - to take the cooker

Alex Watts :

Thats civil

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

I have fitted a new one now

Alex Watts :

No criminal

Alex Watts :

To enter the property with or without permission is civil

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

That's what the whold questionis about

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

only crimial

Alex Watts :

Taking the cooker MAY be criminal

Alex Watts :

Depending on what view the Police take

Alex Watts :

But in short you cant make the Police investigate, they have no duty whatsoever to do so

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

The police don't decide what's a crime

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

they have an impled duty

Alex Watts :

You cant make them prosecute.

Alex Watts :

Its not a matter

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Alex Watts :

They do not have an implied duty

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

They don't make that decision anyway

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

CPS does

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

They have an impled duty to investigate crimes

Alex Watts :

You can NOT make the Police investigate and prosecute a matter

Alex Watts :

NO NO NO NO NO

Alex Watts :

They do NOT

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Police don't prosectue anyone

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

the crown does

Alex Watts :

There is no duty whatsoever to you

Alex Watts :

The Police do on behalf of the Crown

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Under common tort

Alex Watts :

Tort is CIVIL

Alex Watts :

Not criminal

Alex Watts :

But you said you dont want to know about civil as you know it 100%

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

I am not suggesting hte police are crimials by not investigating

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Of curse it's civil

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

A cicil and moral duty to investigate crime

Alex Watts :

Moral duty maybe but no legal duty

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

All I want here is to establish whether a crime, on the face of it, has been commited

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

The debate over the police is one pub

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Becasue even if I was right

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

I am not up judical review

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

:)

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- says:

10:41 AM




They removed the cooker, that is an offence




2:42 PM



JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :


Alex Watts says:

2:42 PM


They removed the cooker, that is an offence




2:42 PM


Does that clarify?

Alex Watts :

Possibly yes. BUT you can't make the Police investigate that

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Okay - but, in making my complaint

Alex Watts :

As you say its a debate.

Alex Watts :

You can make a complaint but the Police may decide its civil.

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

I can say I have legal opinion

Alex Watts :

In which case you have to go to the County Court.

Alex Watts :

Yes, but you are not a lawyer.

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

I undersaynd that CC is always an optoin

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

But I want to do all I can to hold the Police to account

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

So this question was aimed at giving me the best opssible chance

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

If I was simply wrong - I would have not submitted a complaint

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

But you said:

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :


Alex Watts says:

2:42 PM


They removed the cooker, that is an offence




2:42 PM


Does that clarify?

Alex Watts :

You give a statement, you say what you think and the Police decide whether or not to invesgitate

Alex Watts :

Its up to the Police then what, if any action they take

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

I understand that

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

But a complaint against the police

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

they have to investigate it

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

and the IPCC can get involed

Alex Watts :

Yes

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

It's still ablut the case I present

Alex Watts :

Yes

Alex Watts :

So what else would you like to know from me?

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

And this question was about the criminal act

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

and wheterh I can compel the police

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

the comel bit is satidied

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

YOu cannot

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

but you can complain

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

and even take a civil case

Alex Watts :

Can you compel the Police - no

Alex Watts :

Can you complain about the Police - yes

Alex Watts :

Can you take a civil case - yes

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

But that wiould be streghtend by legal opinion that a crime had, on the cae of it, taken place

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Becasue this is the acusation

Alex Watts :

I have given you the legal elements of theft.

Alex Watts :

You can apply that to your facts

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

that the Police have not investigated a crime

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

It wasn't clear

Alex Watts :

They have no duty as we have discussed at length to investigate, which is why you can make a complaint

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

becasue in a few lines after you mentioned civil again

Alex Watts :

Yes

Alex Watts :

If the Police wont investigate and any complaint is not upheld you can always take a civil claim

Alex Watts :

So you haven't lost any remedy

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

"Appropriation of property belonging to another with permenant intention to deprive"

Alex Watts :

Yes

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

That's criminal?

Alex Watts :

Yes

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

And although CC had shared title - they were not the owners

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

The tenants were the owners as they had enjoyment

Alex Watts :

Yes.

Alex Watts :

But the steps you take are:

Alex Watts :

1) Give the Police a statement

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

So

Alex Watts :

2) If they refuse to complain make a formal written complaint

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Although we cannot comel them to take action

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

This is the case

Alex Watts :

3) If that is not upheld then go to County Court

Alex Watts :

Can you see 1-3 above?

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

I can tell you why the poilce don't want to investigate

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

It has happend before

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

they are all up

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Until they find out I live in Gloucestershire

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

then it's all too much trouble

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything on the steps 1-3 above?

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

I undersand 1 - 3 before

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

It's the case

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

That I want to have sure

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

Look - in the army - they told me - we can't make you do anything - just make you wish you had

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

I want to hold the police to account

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

I can only do this if I have stong understanding of why I think they should have acted

Alex Watts :

Ok. Do you have any questions of me?

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

I understand what to do now if they still disagree

Alex Watts :

Yes.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything else ?

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

I think we got away from the part of this process I neede the most support with

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

The criminal element and deciding if it was reasonable police to refuse to investgaget

Alex Watts :

I have given you the criminal element, can you not see it?

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

We got onto to well they can do as they please

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

We got there in the end

JACUSTOMER-2gkjr475- :

okay thanks

Alex Watts :

Reasonableness does not come into their decision. There is no duty to investigate as we have discussed.

Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I think you're wrong. Having a duty and compelling to act are two different things and, like other things in this conversation, you are mixing them up.

Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
There is no duty to act sadly.
Alex