When does damage in a property become criminal?

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R
Richie
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One of my student HMOs has become my worst ever property for damages. Initially they apologised and I repaired everything as it occurred, with the intention of taking deductions from their deposit when they moved out 10-11 months later. However, after a couple of months, two of the five had stopped paying rent, and the damage continued. The others asked me to let them fix the damage themselves (replace broken table, patch hjoles in plasterboard). There was a point early on at which the situation had moved from "normal" damage (i.e. genuine accidents/mishaps) to unusually heavy and regular damage (holes in several walls, doors kicked in). There must have been a point along the way, which I did not recognise, at which the level of damage would have moved into a criminal level of damage.

The dilemma is that with student lets, you would risk maybe six months of voids if you were successful in evicting them quickly, and then have no chnace of income for that void period until the next student intake at the local Uni. It may be worth keeping them there, with some of them paying, rather than having it empty altogether.

So the two-part question is: (1) how does one recognise when the damage being done to a property moves into the criminal realm, and (2) what can be done about it both legally and practically?

22/06/2011 00:00

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