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Ask Ash Your Own Question
Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Joshua, my handbag was stolen when I was having a tea break

Customer Question

hi Joshua, my handbag was stolen when I was having a tea break at coffee shop in the shopping mall. Because I was applying for bank account on the same day, I had a proof of address in that bag and my home keys. I informed my landlord about the burglary and asked for the permission to change my flat lock. He insisted that we also change the lock of the building loobby as he owns the whole building with 9 flats. He initially did not talk about who will pay for it and we heard from his manager that the landlord will probably cover the cost, But when the job was done, he asked us to pay for replacement of 2 locks (lobby and flat), all the keys cut to the tenants and the labour of locksmith, which cost £395. My question is, if in my Tenancy Agreement there is no clause that the tenant must replace the locks if his.her keys were stolen, is there any law that specifies who should pay for it, tenant of landlord? Thank you for your help. Yulia
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts :

Hello my name is ***** ***** Joshua does not appear to be online so I can help you with this.

Alex Watts :

What is the cost of the lock please?

JACUSTOMER-f7emf77o- :

Hello Alex, the cost of the 2 locks, 30 keys and labour is £395.

Alex Watts :

You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.



If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/courtfinder/forms/n001-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.



The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.



If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value you would need representation for trial.



Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

JACUSTOMER-f7emf77o- :

Hi Alex,

JACUSTOMER-f7emf77o- :

my question was about who should pay for the cost of locks, keys replacement and the labour of the locksmith? Thank you for providing the detailed answer on how to apply to the court, but could you answer my question?

Alex Watts :

You are not responsible, it should be the Landlord.

Alex Watts :

Does that clarify?

JACUSTOMER-f7emf77o- :

Hi Alex, please see below the extract from my Tenancy Agreement, chapter about 'Locks and Alarms'. Can you please tell me based on this chapter from the Tenancy Agreement who should pay for the replacement of locks, keys if the keys were stolen from a tenant?

JACUSTOMER-f7emf77o- :

18. Locks and Alarms
18.1 To fasten all locks and bolts on the doors and windows when the Premises are empty and at
night.
18.2 To set the burglar alarm (if applicable) when the Premises are vacant
18.3 To pay any call-out charges or other charges incurred by the Landlord where the Tenant, his
family or visitors has accidentally or negligently set off the burglar alarm.
18.4 Not to install or change any locks in the Premises without the prior consent of the Landlord,
or the Agent which will not be unreasonably withheld, except in an emergency.
18.5 Not to have any further keys cut for the locks to the Premises without notifying the Landlord
or the Agent of the number of additional keys cut.
18.6 To return all keys, remote controls, or security devices to the Landlord or the Agent at the
end of the Tenancy (whether before or after the Term of this Agreement).
18.7 To pay for the cost of replacement locks, keys, remote controls or other security devices
that have been lost or not returned at the end of the Tenancy.

Alex Watts :

In my view the Landlord.

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

JACUSTOMER-f7emf77o- :

Hi Alex, my real estate agent insists that it is clear from this tenancy agreement that the tenant should pay for it. You are telling me the opposite.Can you please tell me what leads you to this conclusion so that I can explain it to the agent? In your opinion what is missing or unclear in the clause #18.7 and how should this clause be worded so that it sounds clear that the tenant should pay for the replacement of locks if the keys got stolen? We have not paid for the replacement of locks yet as landlords paid the bill when we were out on the day when the locksmith came. The landlord is asking us to pay.

Alex Watts :

My view is you are responsible for any lock to your property.

Alex Watts :

But you are not responsible for any lock outside your property

Alex Watts :

After all the tenancy agreement is for the property, not for the lobby

Alex Watts :

That is not included in the tenancy agreement

Alex Watts :

Does that help?

JACUSTOMER-f7emf77o- :

Hi Alex, this clarifies as my tenancy agreement is not for the whole building but only for the flat. My landlord is arguing the safety reasons for the whole building and saying that changing the lobby locks was a necessary measure to prevent the burglar getting into the property and that the bicycles, which people store in the common hall could be stolen this way. Also he is saying that the burglar could get into somebody's flat is they forgot to lock it. He is also arguing that the agency told him that the tenant should pay. I called to the agent and he told me that they already had a case like this before and the tenant paid for the replacement locks. Is there any chapter in Common Law that you could point out that refers to the safety of the building and who is responsible for changing the locks in the building?

Alex Watts :

The law is neutral save to say if it is to do with the building the Landlord is responsible.

Alex Watts :

It is like asking you to decorate a shared hallway.

Alex Watts :

Not your responsibility

JACUSTOMER-f7emf77o- :

What is the reasonable argument that I could give to my landlord and the agent that it is their responsibility to pay for the replacement of locks in the lobby, not mine?

Alex Watts :

Does that clairfy?

JACUSTOMER-f7emf77o- :

Can the landlord do anything to reimburse his costs in the other way, like deducting it from flat deposit at the end of the tenancy?

Alex Watts :

No. The deposit is protected by a scheme by law

Alex Watts :

Does that clarify?

Alex Watts :

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


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