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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3557
Experience:  Two years conveyancing experience.
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A recent crime at the doorstep to the block of flats in which

Customer Question

A recent crime at the doorstep to the block of flats in which I live was recorded on CCTV. We were under the impression that the data was stored for 30 days, however, by the time the police came to view it, the footage had been deleted - after only 12 days. The property management company employ staff who claim the recorder can only hold data for 12 days. Subsequently, I received information from another resident who saw staff viewing the incident on a recording on the morning of the day of the police visit. Later that day when the officer arrived they claimed no knowledge of the footage and said it was no longer on the recorder.
Aside from the implications for the 2 staff involved, I believe there is a case to be made to the managing agent for the mishandling and misuse of CCTV footage - to allow untrained staff to view footage unsupervised and to be allowed to delete data.
I want to know what options are available.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Property Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 11 months ago.
Hi, Thank you for your question and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I will assist you. As the management company provide you with a service and there are implied conditions under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 that requires these services should be provided with reasonable care and skill (section 13). Breaching this implied term could be treated as a breach of contract - the cost losses and expenses arising from this breach can be claimed as a breach of contract. You could potentially have a demand for compensation for breaching their obligation to provide the service with reasonable care and skill - if they refused you could sue them for breach of contract. Are the residents prepared to replace the managing agents?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your reply. I agree with Sales of Goods Act as one line to pursue. However, I was reading up about the regulations surrounding the handling of CCTV data and even the viewing of recorded footage, and I believe these have been breached as well. Can these be wrapped up within the claim for breach of contract? Or is a separate action possible for these breaches?The managing agent is also the freeholder, so replacement is not going to be straightforward.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 11 months ago.
Hi, Thank you. Is the Management Company in any way regulated or does it hold itself out to be a provider of security services? Yes you could add all of these breaches into one claim - but if the use of the CCTV footage has been done illegally this may be a matter for a regulatory body or for a quasi judicial body like Trading Standards. Kind regards AJ
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3557
Experience: Two years conveyancing experience.
Alex J. and other Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I was wondering if you could please give me an ETA for the call. Reception is not good in my building (I'm at work) and I need to position myself to get a signal around the time you intend to call.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 11 months ago.
Hi, My apologies but I am not currently available for a phone call. I am happy to deal with any answers and questions on the chat service, otherwise I can refer this to another expert if you require a phone call? Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Ok, that's fine. On your last response and questions: I'm not sure if the managing agent is regulated. I assume it is, but not as a provider of security services. It will be regulated under some sort of residential management body. It is the mishandling of CCTV by staff that is at the heart of the issue, and the inadequate supervision by management to prevent it and to take remedial steps to avoid a repeat. They are upgrading the system but not investigating what happened - the latter is important as serious mistakes were made. I believe staff at the property have breached guidelines by i) viewing CCTV recordings without police or other supervisor present and ii) deleting data, for whatever reason. On the claim, is this a small claims issue, and how would you recommend I quantify the guideline breaches financially.?
Expert:  Alex J. replied 11 months ago.
Hi, Thank you. Has the issue had any affect on your insurance premiums or your ability to recover any insurance money? Were any items stolen?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Credit cards were stolen, resulting in £500. All was recovered via CC insurance. This is more about the inability for police to follow up as they have no footage of the criminals. Footage that was recorded and then deleted through mishandling.The victim has endured stress, and wasted time in the submission of statements to the police only to find that nothing will be done because of lack of CCTV. We pay high service charges, and a big chunk of that is for staff salaries and, in turn, security they provide and that is provided by locks and the CCTV system.So in short I don't really know how to apportion costs in a financial claim for breach of contract as I need to calculate what share of staff costs are attributable to the provision of security, and what additional costs go to security systems. There is also the stress factor and loss of time in the handling of something that should never have happened and to ensure it doesn't happen again, as the managing agent are just sweeping this under the carpet.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 11 months ago.
Hi, Thank you. As a starting point has the management company appointed someone to sort out the issue? Have you asked them for compensation?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
I have been in contact with someone - mainly to complain about the loss of footage and the fact that the CCTV system is ineffective. I haven't asked for compensation as I assume if I do, it will be rejected. They are trying to cover up their failings and pass the problem off as a hardware issue.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
All they have done is to speak with the CCTV provider to get the system upgraded. Nothing has been mentioned about the mishandling of CCTV data and remedial action on how staff will proceed in future. Right now, if someone repeated the crime, the same problems exist. 2 months after I raised the matter.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 11 months ago.
Hi Thank you. As a starting point you should ask for compensation before going straight to a court claim. Explain to them they are in breach of contract and they have not provided the service with reasonable care and skill, also ask them to confirm what training they will offer their staff to ensure this doesnt happen again? If they do not reply satisfactorily you could always threaten to refer the matter to the Ombudsman or commence a court claim at this point. If you did not want a legal dispute there is actually an ombudsman service for this - https://www.ombudsman-services.org/property.html. The person who was victim to the crime, have they successfully recovered all their losses? Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for the recommendation. I'll proceed as you suggest. The victim has recovered all lost funds as this was re-reimbursed by the covered by credit card company. She is just really scared to be targeted again, and very angry that despite the security systems we are paying for and high number of staff for the size of the block, the capture of evidence for potential prosecution has been lost. This is about getting things done properly, rather than the financial claim. The management company and staff are colluding and negligent. They are not the ones that suffer from the crime. They don't pay the service charge. Yet we have to answer to them and they don't even deal with these things as they should, in a professional manner.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Just one more question: between small claims court and the ombudsman, which would you suggest as a plan B to seeking compensation directly from the managing agent? Does one plan B option offer more options than the other?
Expert:  Alex J. replied 11 months ago.
Hi, Thank you. The plan B would be to ensure that they take your complaint seriously in the first place. In order to do this I would recommend that you send them a solicitors letter - seeing a letter on the headed paper of a solicitor will give the complaint more gravitas and show that you have taken advice and cannot be fobbed off. Also on a practical level if they see you are taking they will have to consider themselves whether they need to start incurring legal expenses, and may just accept that they need to try and reach a settlement with you. Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Yes I agree. Would you be able to draft such a letter? If so, what are your charges?
Expert:  Alex J. replied 11 months ago.
Hi, Thank you. I am afraid we are not permitted to draft documents on this site. If you want to find a solicitor local to you, I would recommend you contact the Law Society www.lawsociety.org.uk . If you want to try drafting a letter yourself (that says you have taken legal advice etc), I would be happy to look at it and propose any necessary changes? Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Hi AJ, Ok, I understand. Thank you for your help. I will contact a local solicitor as I want them to see I am going through a lawyer and take this seriously. Thank you for your help. Kind regards, Michael
Expert:  Alex J. replied 11 months ago.
Hi, If you would like to discuss anything further please do not hesitate to contact me? Kind regards AJ

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