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Stealing Property as a Tenant

Stealing Property as a Tenant is an offence under Section 154 of the Crimes Act 1900 which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You were a tenant or occupier of a house, building or lodging, and
  2. You stole a chattel or fixture in that house, building or lodging

A ‘chattel’ is a moveable piece of property, whereas a ‘fixture’ is property that is attached to the premises with the intention of it remaining there permanently or indefinitely.

The offence can be established whether the contract was entered by you or by another person on your behalf.

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Duress, and
  2. Claim of right, which means you genuinely believed you were legally entitled to the property

 

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