I recently moved into a brand new apartment complex (most flats are still empty). Over a bank holiday weekend it turns out my bicycle (which I recently purchased for around £400) was stolen.

The bike was locked up in an underground car park of the apartments complex. There are 2 lock points for my entire building as the bike shed for our building is still being built. There are security gates to even get into the complex, but these gates had been broke for at least a month or so.

There is no sign saying "items are left at your own risk".

There are CCTV cameras which I told the site caretaker to look at. He went on holiday and when he got back he said the cameras haven't been recording yet so effectively no footage.

I've submitted a police report that went nowhere. I've contacted my house agent about getting in contact with the site owners that also went nowhere.

I was thinking about some kind of legal case. Perhaps a no win no fee one but I have no idea how the law works in the UK for these kinds of things. Is there anything I can do or is it just bad luck and I need to move on?

  • 1
    Do you have insurance? Oct 12, 2018 at 10:03

1 Answer 1


Sounds a lot like a bad-luck, move-on situation.

I can't imagine any reason why the complex would have any duty to watch your bike for you or otherwise ensure that no one steals it. The fact that you bought it knowing that the bike shed had not yet been built and that the security gates were broken would probably count against you.

If you know who stole your bike, you'd have a much better case against them, but it doesn't sound like that's the case.

If you're looking for a typical contingency-fee arrangement, in which the attorney takes a fee from your winnings, I'd imagine you're going to be especially out of luck, based on two hard facts:

  • The total damages you can collect is probably going to be equal to the price of your bicycle: £400.
  • The average hourly rate at national firms for the most junior lawyer is already more than £200. If you sat down with such a lawyer, explained your situation, discussed your options, and then tasked the lawyer to write a threatening letter to the apartment complex, you'd already have incurred more fees than the value of the bicycle. Probably no attorney is interested in that arrangement -- especially since it's highly unlikely the complex would pay.

So unless you're actually willing to pay hourly rates, I can't imagine any lawyer taking this case. Even if you were, no one may take it just because lawyers don't like taking cases that they're going to lose.

  • To be honest. I didn't know there were bike sheds anyway. I only found out after the fact. I asked the landlord about one when I moved in and they said they'd chase it up. So I just did the best I could. Out of sight and locked up. I feel the whole security gates has to be something. If the places you are renting are not finished then should you even be doing so. I don't know, that is for the closure anyway.
    – shmink
    Oct 12, 2018 at 16:51
  • Yeah, and leaving a high end (400 pound uSED is not a normal price for a cheap bike) bike in a badly secure location without insurance - not the appartment complex fault.
    – TomTom
    Oct 12, 2018 at 16:54
  • 2
    Costs aside, would your answer change if the landlord had misrepresented the security features of the premise, or had neglected to inform tenants that they were non-functioning?
    – Hart CO
    Oct 13, 2018 at 1:20
  • Maaaaaaybe for misrepresentation, no for neglect.
    – bdb484
    Oct 13, 2018 at 13:10

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