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SA Personal Property Taken from Share House - Report to Police?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Shez, 24 February 2015.

  1. Shez

    Shez Member

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    Hi there. I was wondering if you can help me with some advice? I have been sharing a house with another person this person does not own the property. I have been there for around three months. We both pay equal shares in rent etc. this person would not let me take all my belongs to the house and so I have been renting a storage shed as well. He has then told me that he wants my personal items that he allowed me to take there thinned out,in other words taken back to my storage shed as he does not want the house cluttered with my things. This has been costing me nearly $1000 per month for the rent on both the shed and the house.

    I am currently unemployed and have no more cash left. I talked to the real estate agents and told him of my situation and he has said that he will take me off of the lease. So I started moving out.my housemate got quite angry and I had to take police to the house to get my clothes. The police told me I should wait until my housemate returned to truck driving the following Monday and then go collect the rest of my things.i took the officers advice but when I returned to the house a lot of my things had been removed and also hidden around the property and in my housemates car.

    I have been to police to report the items stolen and they are saying that it is a civil dispute. I do not owe any money to this person and we are not romantically involved. He has said he will keep my belongings until I pay out the lease but the real estate agent says he will remove me from the lease. So can I report my items stolen and is it a civil matter. I really hope you gave give some information on what I can do about this situation.

    Thank you
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Shez,

    Sounds like a very difficult situation, I don't envy you. This certainly comes within the jurisdiction of civil law. Unlawfully taking the personal belongings of another person is trespass to chattels (or personal property) or conversion at common law. You can institute proceedings in the Magistrates Court or small claims tribunal (if SA has one) for this action. This is one option for you.

    However, it may also constitute a crime. s134 of the South Australian Criminal Code describes Theft as follows

    (1) A person is guilty of theft if the person deals with property—
    (a) dishonestly; and
    (b) without the owner's consent; and
    (c) intending— (i) to deprive the owner permanently of the property; or (ii) to make a serious encroachment on the owner's proprietary rights. Maximum penalty: (a) for a basic offence—imprisonment for 10 years; (b) for an aggravated offence—imprisonment for 15 years

    You can raise this with the police and be persistent with them, but if they refuse and insist it is a civil matter you may have to go with option 1.
     
  3. Shez

    Shez Member

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    Thank you for your advice Sophea
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Sophea, there is a criminal element to the act of your flatmate.

    Police are trying to avoid work. Push them on it, and keep escalating it as far as you can. Then if still they refuse to help, put in it in writing and send it to the police commissioner.
     

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