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Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Is it a criminal offence when a letting agent (holiday let

Customer Question

is it a criminal offence when a letting agent (holiday let business) comes into the building with a locksmith and changes the locks to suit his clients- he has left the the security of the buildling particularly to my apartments' front door, which is just within the corridor of the front and back door- leading on to a busy high street. The other apartment's front doors are located round the back of the building - so this corridor is
purely a right of way - the problemm is that the two doors are now left with only a 2 bolt system instead of the 4 bolt high security system which this agent thinks he has carte blanche to change as he fancies -- We need legal advice- do we lodge a criminal complaint to the police now - as my partner wants to take this much further -- by the way there is no mangenmet company - - we are trying to get this - another issue-
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Ash replied 10 months ago.
Hello my name is ***** ***** i will help you.For now please let me know whether your property was damaged at all please?Alex
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
the back door handle has fallen off - so the other owner occupier has put some silver duck tape on the area which the door handle was- the front door is not damaged - but is now very vurnerable as the 4 bolt system has been taken away - so very easy to push
to door in - the front door leads directly on to the main high street- but has a small recess - i can push the door easily and there is a gap - same with the back door. My apartment is the only one within a corridor which houses the front and rear exit doors- this is a common right of way - however the other apartment's front doors are to the rear of the building - the other permanent residents knew how to secure the door with the thumb lock system - which has the security I particularly need - the holiday lets- are transient
and are taken through the front door- then though the back door then up to the second floor stairs to another front door and then their own front door. So you can imagine there has been so much confusion for them - we in flat 3 (me and my partner) have installed cctv cameras to monitor our safety and for the safety of the building to the rear- we know who leaves the front door open or unlocked - and on a general basis it is the holiday lets- the agent - has changed these locks this week to a very simple system- but without the original*****security which is needed. He did this without any prior advice-- but at the end of the day he has no right to do tamper with other peoples propert- This is to benefit his clients- so we need to know if this is a criminal offence and should we take further action - lodging a complaint to the police first, then possibly suing him for changing these locks when he is not even an owner. There is no management company at the moment - we are in the process of obtaining - this as the original management company is dissolved and the Bona Vacantia Division has had no response- - We do have a solicitor dealing with this- but i was unable to contact him-but did send him and email -- I just need to verify that the action taken by the holiday letting agent is a criminal one. Thanks very much -- my tel number is ***** 170 465 Juanita Moseley-Williams
Expert:  Ash replied 10 months ago.
It is a criminal offence, it can only be Criminal Damage. This is because they have damaged property belonging to you.As such you should report this to the Police. They can investigate and prosecute as a result.As for any civil action this could be breach of contract, if they did not inform you and their contract does not allow them to do this.You need to write and set out your losses and request compensation 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 compensate 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?Alex
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi Alex - thanks for your reply- my partner is abroad on business till next week end- and he insisted that i lodge a complaint with the police- as he says its criminal damage- I just needed to have legal advice quickly on this - as i could not reach my solicitor who is dealing with the management company side- - I did speak to a local policeman- and he said to call the CAB - but it was not possible for me today- hence me talking to you - should i lodge a complaint asap to the police. I noticed you mentioned 'breach of contract' - the said agent has no contract with me or any of the other owners in relation to the building - his only dealings are with the owners of the holiday let and that the female owner works within his company.- The owners seem to be under his control , and seem weak to say anything - In a court of law would this situation be in a breach of contract- when there isn't one?
I
Expert:  Ash replied 10 months ago.
You should lodge a complaint and good luck with it.Alex
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thanks very much for your reply- will get on with it - juanita
Expert:  Ash replied 10 months ago.
Good luck JuanitaAlex
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
just a quick question- another barrister told me that it was not a crimninal offence- so am confused who is right - ?
Expert:  Ash replied 10 months ago.
if they damaged your property without a lawful excuse, it's criminal damage.
Expert:  Ash replied 10 months ago.
However the police will generally say it's a civil matter. They use that excuse a lot when they don't want to get into the ins and outs of who is right and wrong etc.

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