Landlord left with £20k bill after rented house is stripped
9:30am Friday 11th January 2013 in News
A landlord has been left with a bill of nearly £20,000 after his rented house was completely stripped after his tenant was moved without him realising.
Mohamed Shabir had rented his property in Martin Crescent, Croydon, to a tenant he found through Bromley Council in 2009.
In November, he discovered the house was empty and on inspection of the property found copper pipes, cables, the gas meter and boiler had been stolen.
Mr Shabir who lives in Tooting, said he didn't suspect anything was wrong because Croydon Council continued to make housing benefit payments covering the tenant's rent.
Croydon Council say the payments continued because the woman had intended to move back into the property.
It emerged the property had been empty for almost a year, after the tenant was moved by a third party organisation.
Because the property could have been empty for at least four weeks before the theft, Mr Shabir has been unable to claim on his insurance.
He estimates the cost to repair the property will be between £15,000 and £20,000.
Mr Shabir is blaming Croydon Council for not informing him that his tenant had moved.
However the council has said it was not their responsibility as it was not involved in the tenancy agreement and was only responsible for paying housing benefit.
Mr Shabir said: "If the property had been abandoned I should have been told, I feel let down."
A Croydon Council spokesman said: "We administer housing benefit on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions for thousands of Croydon residents.
"This particular case relates to a private tenant therefore the council has no responsibility for the arrangement with the landlord.
"It should also be noted that it is the responsibility of landlords to check if their property is occupied."
A Police spokesman said: "Copper pipes, cables and a boiler were all reported as stolen from the house.
"Officers from CID have investigated, but at this stage no arrests have been made."
Anyone with information should contact Croydon police on 101.