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Can a house guest sue a home owner if the house is burgled?

(21 Posts)
StormyWeek Tue 16-Oct-12 22:08:28

My cousin, her DP and kids were staying with our aunt in London. They were in the process of moving between countries so had alot of possessions with them.

Our aunt and family were going away for the weekend, and left the guests in charge of the house. They had agreed to feed the cat. The visitors then decided to go away for the night, and didn't lock the door. The house was burgled. The visitors discovered the burglary on their return, and phoned the police.
They gave the police an extensive list of their missing possessions. They wanted to claim on the burgled house's insurance. The insurance company said only registered inhabitants could claim and they should claim on their own house insurance or their travel insurance, none of which they appear to have.

They have settled in Rep of Ireland, and now they are saying that the house was insecure, the back door was inadequate and are consulting a solicitor with a view to making a claim against my Aunt and or the insurance company.

My aunt is obviously very perturbed. To me, this sounds preposterous. I think they are making a nuisance of themselves so that she may volunteer some money to cover their losses. Do they have a legal leg to stand on?

Collaborate Tue 16-Oct-12 23:51:35

Common sense will tell you that they haven't a hope. Not a chance.

Bunbaker Tue 16-Oct-12 23:58:41

If they didn't lock the door they haven't a leg to stand on.

CelticPromise Wed 17-Oct-12 00:06:56

Hell no.

scarlettsmummy2 Wed 17-Oct-12 00:10:31

If the thieves have been caught they could take a civil case against them.

Iheartpasties Wed 17-Oct-12 00:12:39

they didnt lock the bloody door, tell your aunt to sue them for stress!!!

scurryfunge Wed 17-Oct-12 00:13:43

We're they the people that left the house insecure?

zipzap Wed 17-Oct-12 00:43:50

Hell, if the burglars took any of your aunts things I'd be telling her that she should be the one suing your cousin and family for leaching the property unsecured. Guessing that the aunt's insurance wouldn't cover her if this was the case?

Did they come from a country where it was normal not to lock doors?

Or do you think they saw it as an opportunity to upgrade their stuff - forget to lock the door, know the house would be empty and get a mate to go round to pick it all up, thinking they would get a nice wodge of money to buy new things got their new home... How many of the really sentimental things got left behind or weren't there vs how much was 'just stuff'?

ClareMarriott Wed 17-Oct-12 17:06:21

Dear Stormyweek

A contents policy normally has a section covering items temporarily removed from the main house. If your cousin and her family failed to maintain a current policy until such time as they settled in Ireland, I would agree that it is not possible for them to claim from you under your policy if it was them who left the door open. Although the police were given a list of items that were taken, it is probably unlikely that anything will be recovered unless the police caught the thieves soon after. if your cousin does ask a solicitor to continue the claim against you, hand everything over to your contents insurers to deal with Clare

StormyWeek Wed 17-Oct-12 19:00:46

Hmm, the plot thickens. I spoke to my aunt to get some more details, as per questions posed above.
She has had her claim settled-she didn't really lose much of monetary value, as they don't have much really- her engagement ring ( she's a widow), a cash sum a camera and a laptop. It came to about 2K.
Why did they pay out when the door had been left open?
Zipzap, you pretty much spotted it.
Because, when the visitors returned from their night away, they realized there had been a burglary, and he, my cousin's partner, who is now trying to shake down my aunt, decided to fake a forced entry, to cover up the fact that they had left the door open.
He made a false statement to the police.
This all stinks,right?
He told my aunt this, after the insurance company wouldn't compensate them.
He has made my aunt complice in fraud.
On the day of the burglary, they said the house had been ransacked. There is no mention of this in the police report. They had "kindly" tidied up everything before the family returned from their weekend away.
The family (who own the house) have observed that everything was exactly as it was, nothing replaced in the wrong spot.
The cash sum amount stolen from the house was almost exactly the same amount that the visitors paid for a new car the following week.

So, is he a sophisticated fraudster, who implicates his victims in order to extort money? Or were they really burgled? If he set up the burglary, why didn't he insure himself? They have profited by an inflated claim when his parents were burgled in their county, and they just happened to be staying there at the time.

My aunt is clear now that she would far prefer to come clean,return the money to the insurance company than give him any money. He's out of the country now so I don't know that he can be investigated or caught. He also used her address to get credit, so she is also being hounded by debt collection agencies.

Such a mess. She has decided to ignore all communication from him, as it is clear now, given that it was he who broke in the door, that he is trying to blackmail her, in some way. There are so many stories about this guy in our family-everyone's a bit afraid of him

VivaLeBeaver Wed 17-Oct-12 19:04:48

He maybe did set it up, thinking he'd be insured as well. Sounds very dodgy. I'd be worried if I was your aunt about owning up as well and I would never normally advocate lying to insurance companies. But your cousin sounds the sort who might try and blame the whole thing on your aunt, it could get very nasty.

halloweeneyqueeney Wed 17-Oct-12 19:05:06

anyone wondering if THEY are the burglers?

they have your aunt on the insurance thing so I would come clean on that one, then go to the police about the damage they did to the door and the fact that you suspect THEY took the ring etc

VivaLeBeaver Wed 17-Oct-12 19:06:09

Is your cousin the dd of the aunt?

Chubfuddler Wed 17-Oct-12 19:07:31

Something about this absolutely stinks. If I were your aunt I would contact the insurance company, tell them exactly what she fears/suspects and ask them what she should do. Very very suspect.

But to answer your original question if the insurers won't pay out to them then if this were genuine not some kind of weird fraud, any such claim against your aunt would have to satisfy the test if negligence, and this doesn't. No way.

halloweeneyqueeney Wed 17-Oct-12 19:09:12

I think the aunt should be okay with the insurance company, she would be afterall offering them the money back at the same time as explaining what happened, she was told she was burgled by an unknown thief, now it looks like she's been ripped off by houseguests

StormyWeek Wed 17-Oct-12 19:17:20

Thank, chubfuddler, for clarifying the negligence question.
No, she is not the DD, she's the niece, my 1st cousin.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 17-Oct-12 19:17:39

But what if the cousin denies it and says it was all the aunt? That it was either her, or her idea? That she's only confessing now as the cousin has realised how wrong it was and said she was going to confess. So now the aunt is getting in there first to blame it on the cousin?

StormyWeek Wed 17-Oct-12 19:21:54

I think it's so unlikely that my aunt would go to the police about them. She's not even giving the debt collection agencies their forwarding address. She has always had a very maternal relationship with her niece, and that confuses everything for her.

StormyWeek Wed 17-Oct-12 19:27:35

My aunt has never claimed on her insurance in over 30 years at the property, and has never been burgled. She and her family were in a hotel 100's of miles away. They didn't make an exorbitant claim. I think the police could figure that one out (I hope)!

VivaLeBeaver Wed 17-Oct-12 19:29:24

The insurance company will probably go to the police.

SugarPastePumpkin Tue 23-Oct-12 20:36:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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