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Thieving flatmate

By annus_horribilis 25 January 2014 31

A friend of mine shares a flat with a girl who keeps going through her stuff, taking things and taking money from her wallet.

They each have a lease so I assume she cannot evict her.

Do you have any ideas what she can do.

Calling the police is not going to make for good flatmate relaions.


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Thieving flatmate
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ns 5:25 pm 01 Feb 14

She sounds exactly like a thieving flatmate I once had. By any chance are her initials “TI”?

annus_horribilis 8:11 pm 29 Jan 14

Bigfeet said ” Unless there is more to this story than you are saying it is a clear cut criminal offence and you should insist the police take action.”

But it isn’t clear cut, their is no evidence. Missing cash, relocated make up etc.
Have spoken to an acquaintance who happens to be a police officer who has confirmed that with this sort of petty thievery there is little we can do .
She confirmed what most of you said, confront flatmate, (thieves are usually cowards apparently, although to me it seems quite brazen) and she will be so embarrassed she wants to move out. Get a lock for the bedroom door and it is perfectly fine to have a camera recording within your own personal space.

gazket 4:24 pm 29 Jan 14

grab all her stuff and throw it outside then change locks.

zorro29 10:21 am 29 Jan 14

It’s hard if you can’t trust your flatmate cos you don’t want to live like you’re squatting at a train station…I think honesty is the best policy…confront the girl and see how it goes. If all else fails, vigilante justice (steal stuff back)….works for Batman (mostly)

bigfeet 9:44 am 29 Jan 14

steveu said :

caf said :

Genie said :

Police can’t do anything. When we had a friend housesit for 2 weeks ALOT of stuff was missing on our return. Called the police for advice but because they had a key to the property and we willingly let them stay. Tough titties.

So by the same token, the next time I’m staying in a hotel room I can take off with the TV then?

I think there is an agreement you sign when you pay for a hotel room, making you liable for damages, missing property etc.

Inviting someone in or giving someone a key does not negate your ownership of your personal property. Their are some slight grey areas relating to communal property in the house that all use, such as fridges, couches etc or situations of implied consent such as a statement like ‘you can borrow my jewelry whenever you want, no need to ask.”

But generally you have not relinquished ownership rights and the person has stolen your property.

Unless there is more to this story than you are saying it is a clear cut criminal offence and you should insist the police take action.

steveu 8:59 am 29 Jan 14

caf said :

Genie said :

Police can’t do anything. When we had a friend housesit for 2 weeks ALOT of stuff was missing on our return. Called the police for advice but because they had a key to the property and we willingly let them stay. Tough titties.

So by the same token, the next time I’m staying in a hotel room I can take off with the TV then?

I think there is an agreement you sign when you pay for a hotel room, making you liable for damages, missing property etc.

caf 9:09 pm 28 Jan 14

Genie said :

Police can’t do anything. When we had a friend housesit for 2 weeks ALOT of stuff was missing on our return. Called the police for advice but because they had a key to the property and we willingly let them stay. Tough titties.

So by the same token, the next time I’m staying in a hotel room I can take off with the TV then?

JazzyJess 1:04 pm 28 Jan 14

This happened to me in my first share house. I confronted my flattie who just denied everything and told me to move out (the lease was in her name). I later found out through a mutual friend that she continued this behaviour with the next person she roomed with. I doubt the Police would be willing to get involved so your friend needs to consider moving out if it doesn’t break the lease.

c_c™ 11:11 pm 27 Jan 14

You’re right to ask because it’s a murky part of the law. Technically being filmed in a public place is pretty easy to get away with because there’s no recognised right to privacy. In private, it becomes more murky. The recent case against Obaid Fayez fell apart because of doubts over this area of the law, though being only a Magistrate’s decision, that doesn’t really mean anything.

Basically, if you set up a recording device in a private dwelling, you could run into problems with the Listening Devices Act because if the housemate is speaking to someone for example and is recorded doing so, it’s likely taken to be a private conversation in such a setting. Should get away with it if you’re just recording in your own room, but pays to be aware when deciding on a course of action.

roshen 10:42 pm 27 Jan 14

c_c™ said :

I would advise caution pursuing this course of action. It’s definitely something I would consider, but be aware that covert recording can be a criminal offence and if the housemate discovers it before it discovers their actions, you could instead find yourself facing charges.

I would advise checking the lease agreement to see if there’s any clauses about repudiation on the ground of criminal conduct. If there is such a clause, it just provides an extra assurance for your friend going forward. If not, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other avenues to pursue.

I would lodge a report with Police too. If the thefts aren’t on record, it weakens your friends position should they desire to take later action.

Just for interest, can you quote some examples of where this has been a criminal offence? I’m curious because what you are suggesting would provide all sorts of problems for people who have surveillance cameras, dash cameras etc…

I would think the covert recording being an offence would be when you’re putting the camera in a public / communal area rather than your private space.

Maya123 4:54 pm 27 Jan 14

watto23 said :

Or call the police and ask the flatmate to compile a list of what they have had stolen.

Hee, hee, like it. Watch them sweat. Perhaps with that suggestion they will flee the house and your problems will end.

watto23 12:48 pm 27 Jan 14

I would be playing coy and not straight out accusing the flatmate.
Ask the flatmate if she has had stuff taken, because maybe someone is breaking into the house or has a key and is stealing stuff…
Or suggest they put up cameras, for the same reason (it avoids
Or call the police and ask the flatmate to compile a list of what they have had stolen.
ie play dumb a bit without accusing and assume her flatmate is also having things taken.

As soon as you accuse someone they put their defences up.
Some people are just dumb and think they can get away with anything because you can’t prove it.
All the other advice is good as well.

Maya123 12:34 pm 27 Jan 14

When I was nineteen I lived in a group house and one of the tenants was stealing from others, and also (weirdly) wearing one of the other’s underwear. Fortunately not mine. Our problem was solved when she became pregnant and returned to her parents house in Sydney. It took me a long time to get over the anger I felt for her, and even now when reminded I still have some of those feelings. She didn’t steal much of monetary value from me, because I had little of that, but small things that meant something personal to me. I did feel very sorry for her future child though, having such a dishonest, irresponsible, lazy mother.

gdt 10:35 am 27 Jan 14

I’d be worried about what happens near the end of the lease. My experience is that this sort of person, knowing you won’t renew, will suddenly leave the flat without notice nor rent payment near the end of the lease. Since you’re all jointly liable to the landlord, you’ll have to make good her rent payment and whatever damage she does on the way out. I came home once to find the fridge and washer gone with along with my flatmate.

Also, if any of the bills are in their name then make sure they are actually paying them. Although you don’t know it, you’re jointly liable for those too.

Just suck it up and terminate the lease/power/phone now. You’ll lose money, but less than you might.

Innovation 9:05 pm 25 Jan 14

This happened to a friend of mine once. Irrespective of the legalities of your lease, If you have a friend that you can trust (or if you can find cheap storage), move and store anything of monetary or sentimental value at their place until you can resolve this issue one way or another – but don’t abandon the property until you are ready to and you have been removed from any legal obligation.

annus_horribilis 6:56 pm 25 Jan 14

Excuse poor spelling, have a two yr old rumbling on me,

” that she knows has been seen”
“could be gathered from now.”
“As stated she really does”
“with a nanny cam for evidence”

annus_horribilis 6:47 pm 25 Jan 14

They are definitely co tenants. Currently she has no actual evidence, money from wallet and makeup items etc, which after weeks of suspicion were found in the flatmates room in plain sight. She had not entered the room in spite of it all until it became too much. She has communicated via a note left in her own room that she knows has been seem, flatmate has now made herself scarce for the last few days. You are right she may now choose to leave and would be ideal.
Further evidence via nanny cam could be gathered from know.
As stated he really does not want to leave, although in the long run may be the only solution. Although lets be honest, petty thievery is hard to prove and therefore breaking the lease would be extremely expensive, as it is a new lease in the city.
Also eviction is hard to do, and impossible to do quickly and she does have to live with this girl during the process, i can see that getting very nasty.
So a locking doorknob seems to be the only feasible answer, with a nanny can for evidence gathering. Then at least if she does decide enough is enough and has to move out she has good reasons why.

c_c™ 3:10 pm 25 Jan 14

Darkfalz said :

Hidden camera her own room (“nanny-cam” teddy bear cams or such, you can probably find them on eBay). Catch her, charge her. I’m pretty sure ACAT would terminate her part of the lease.

I would advise caution pursuing this course of action. It’s definitely something I would consider, but be aware that covert recording can be a criminal offence and if the housemate discovers it before it discovers their actions, you could instead find yourself facing charges.

I would advise checking the lease agreement to see if there’s any clauses about repudiation on the ground of criminal conduct. If there is such a clause, it just provides an extra assurance for your friend going forward. If not, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other avenues to pursue.

I would lodge a report with Police too. If the thefts aren’t on record, it weakens your friends position should they desire to take later action.

Darkfalz 1:05 pm 25 Jan 14

Hidden camera her own room (“nanny-cam” teddy bear cams or such, you can probably find them on eBay). Catch her, charge her. I’m pretty sure ACAT would terminate her part of the lease.

el 12:10 pm 25 Jan 14

Move out ASAP (as in today). Notify the landlord that they’ve vacated the premises and detail exactly the reasons why, and apologise for terminating the lease at such short notice.

To be blunt the other housemate’s thieving sounds a lot like the actions of an addict, so no point wasting time with locks on every door and living in such an awful environment, just GTFO as soon as possible (ideally: today).

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