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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71046
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My boyfriend and I have just slip up and I agreed for him to

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My boyfriend and I have just slip up and I agreed for him to remain in my property while he found somewhere else to live. After a disagreement I asked him to move out on Monday 12 May. I returned home from work yesterday and found he had moved out taking items of my property ( that I can prove I purchased) with him approx value £1200. He also left me a letter stating that he had done this as compensation as I had insisted he dispose of some of his property before we moved into my house. Please can you tell me where I stand in this legally.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hello XXXXX called the police last night, and when the officer visited me she said this was more likely a domestic dispute and I would have to deal with this as a civil matter. Could you tell me if he has committed theft and should the police deal with it in this way?
I can the officer's point. This is a civil matter really. They can get involved in things that should be in the family court when it suits them though.

In academic law though, he could argue that this isn't theft because he believes he is entitled to deprive you of it in compensation for the items disposed of. That is the officer's point.

It is more appropriate for the civil courts though anyway. Its easy enough to sue for the value of the items at the small claims court here

You could always complain to a more senior officer but even if the police act it doesn't really give you the remedy that you want. Unless, I suppose, they tell him to return the items in exchange for no action being taken. That would be ideal from your point of view but the problem is that isn't really the remit of the police as that is just recovering property in a civil dispute which is the point that the officer is making.

In fairness, if you sued him then his argument is very unlikely to succeed. You may well have demanded that he dispose of other items but he must have done it and you didn't hold a gun to his head. The fact that the relationship didn't work out doesn't mean he can reclaim that from you!

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hello Jo! Thank you for your swift response, I was hoping that the police would advise him to return my property without having to take things further.

He has left some of his property in my house, what should I do with this.

Thank you
Yes, sometimes they will do that. They are very inconsistent about things like that.

Just text or email him telling him that he has 14 days to collect these items and thereafter you will dispose of them. You are under an obligation to give him a reasonable opportunity to collect his goods but you can't say fairer than two weeks.

If you sue him at the small claims court for the value of these goods then he will probably return them anyway and even if he doesn't you would almost certainly win at court. His argument is just a legal nonsense.
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