The complainant, Miss D (on behalf of herself and four other Tenants) complained to the Agent that they should have been informed that the Property had been burgled on two occasions prior to them entering into the tenancy agreement and that the security measures previously recommended by the police following the first burglary had not been implemented.
It became apparent that the Tenants had become aware of the burglaries after speaking to the previous tenants and having made further enquiries with the police. One previous burglary related to possessions being taken from the sill of an open downstairs window, and on the other occasion that window being smashed to steal possessions similarly placed.
Having due regard to Paragraph 4f of the TPO Code of Practice and the principles of the CPRs, I considered that the Agent should have disclosed that the Property had been burgled twice (one of which was only three months prior to the viewing of the Property) and that not all security recommendations suggested by the police had been implemented by the Landlords. In my view, this omission prevented the Tenants from having the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding the suitability of the Property. I also reminded Miss D that it was the Landlords’ decision as to whether they implemented the security recommendations and I was persuaded that they (the Landlords) had been informed at the time by the Agent and had made a decision to only implement a few of
the recommendations that had been made (although they had ensured window locks had been fitted). However, as I considered the information regarding the burglaries should have been disclosed, I supported the complaint and made an award of £250 for the avoidable aggravation, distress and inconvenience.
If a property has a history of burglaries, this is information which would be considered material to any prospective tenant’s decision whether to proceed with a tenancy. Not disclosing this information, especially if the criminal activity was recent, would be a clear breach of Paragraph 4f of the Code of Practice and is likely to be considered a misleading omission under the CPRs.