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Police damage door - who is responsible


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I have a slightly unusual question, and fortunately the tenant who is the subject of the enquiry isn't one of mine!

A landlord who I know has a tenant who has obviously raised the suspicions of the police. The police have believed there was evidence in the property that they needed get access to quickly and have used a police enforcer (big heavy lump of metal) to break open the door and search the property. The tenant was arrested, but later released on bail.

The question for the landlord is simply can he claim the costs of repairing the door from the tenant? The answer to this question is probably more straightforward if the tenant is charged and convicted, but if he isn't, will the landlord still have a claim against the tenant who presumably has been arrested for a crime he hasn't committed (or at least there is insufficient evidence that he committed a crime)?

I don't believe the police are under any obligation to pay for the damage if they had a reasonable suspicion that an offence had been committed, that evidence of the offence was within the property and that enforcing entry was necessary to preserve that evidence. I may, however, be wrong…

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My understanding is that standard practice is if the police enter with a warrant and find something then the householder pays (and so the landlord would be expected to claim from the "guilty" tenant); if they don't find anything, then the police pay. Entry without a warrant generally means that costs fall on the police.

In the meantime the landlord is responsible for the repairs to the door and to reinstate security to the property. Claims from the police can take up to 6 months.

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