Anonymous asked in Home & GardenMaintenance & Repairs · 9 months ago

I have a tenant that destroyed my house and the security deposit is not sufficient to cover the loss. What can I do ?

Tenant left the house in a mess. Required cleaning to be done. The walls required new coating as well.

Air condition was left running, which i forfeit the deposit he paid for utility. That is enough to cover.

The door knobs were remove. Apparently , the key was lost and they had to 'chopped' it out. However, they did not have the money to replace a new one.

The also sabotaged the toilet bowls by filling it with concrete.

This is a nightmare.

If i get a lawyer and filed a civil suit, it would be costly as well.

What can i do to recover the loss ?

(apart from forfeiting all the deposit, in total 3 months)

23 Answers

  • 9 months ago
    Favourite answer

    I see advice here on getting lawyers etc, but that is a long and costly process where you might never recover the money anyway and you would have to spend months preparing for trial. By then the people have gone and they will never pay up even after a judgement.

    Therefore take the pratical route, roll up your sleeves and do it yourself. Replacing toilets and door locks is relatively simple and not very expensive. Get on Youtube to learn how to do it if you do not know. That way you shell out $1,000 for parts and can rent the place out in a month. Otherwise you pay more to lawyers and never get your money back. 

    Source(s): landlord who learned how to fix things
  • 9 months ago

    small claims court,document with pics,video,the damage they did,you need an address to serve the goof,get as much data on his employment location,, the sosh number,license number,vehicle plate number,,attach all fees and costs to repair the place,use a licensed cleanup company,pics before and after the joint is cleaned up,noting your costs and damages  due to it being unfit  to live in,,prorated to each day,

  • 9 months ago

    sell the house so that doesn't happen again 

  • Ann
    Lv 7
    9 months ago

    I hope you took pictures of the mess that was left before you cleaned it up.  You could take him to small claims court if you can gather enough proof against him.

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  • Anonymous
    9 months ago

    Firstly Identify your experience in the Rental industry.

    Right now, you sound like a noob

    Any other LL or owner "knows" how it works.  Most times it is good and occasionally it is bad.

    Everything you want to know is written on the rental agreement "they signed".  If they did not sign a contract then you cannot hold their money.  In court, you lose.

    You win with most tenants.    So their rent to pay for a roof over their head is basically ALL profit for you.  (Poor tenants happen.) This one cost you -you did not get references from the last place they stayed at and phoned them up to inquire? That would be YOUR fault.

     In this case they Deliberately demolished  the toilets with concrete. (meaning they had to go and buy some concrete)  Most just break the china bowl and not spend the money, when a good boot it does for damage.

    . Leaving the AC on does not hurt the AC unit.

    . Cleaning and repainting is NORMALLY REQUIRED. That is par for the course...on any rental.

    . Mess is normal too.  That is an easy clean.  Just a lot of throwing physical labor on your part.

    ANSWER THIS QUESTION ...HOW IS IT THEY DID NOT HAVE A TELEPHONE NUMBER TO YOU or maintenance a 24 hour number for extra keys?

    Your rental contract should have something like "damage deposit will be lost if it is damaged "that in the fine print."  On standard rental forms from the stationary store such is written on the stationary itself.

    ACTUALLY READ it and you will see what they are obligated for.

    The courts go by the written agreement.   Not verbal agreements or hearsay.

    Maybe you had a plain piece of paper that does not mention anything about keeping damage deposit, so you have no legal grounds to keep it . Or worse, a verbal agreement.

    Maybe the tenants have rented more than one time so they know the law too.

    Who is doing the work?  It is either you or a permanent handyman you have on staff.

    Most LL are handymen.  They can do plumbing, carpentry, painting, shampooing carpets& light appliance repairs.  AND that is about it. Which covers everything.

    They are not professional carpentry or appliance repair people so they don't charge themselves the going rate.  The labor is FREE.  They also have extra's of everything. Doors, toilets, appliances, that they swap from unit to unit. Carpet shampoo machines, paint, refrigerators,stoves, A/C machines...or they know how to fix them.  Well enough to keep them functional.

    Going the cheapest way possible is the way they make money.  Many items are long term items. My toilet is over 60 years old and it was a throw away from a campground. So has seen a million butts and still works fine because I did not go out and get a bag of cement and pour it into the bowl.

    (take off the toilet and toss away and clear the outlet pipe of cement before you put on another old toilet...with a new wax seal.  Bolt it down and hook up the water line to the tank and it is done.  Just like new.

  • 9 months ago

    Small claims court is your only option.

  • 9 months ago

    YOU hire a Real Estate attorney. If LEGITIMATE repairs exceed the security deposit, you bill the former tenant for the difference. More than likely, you will have to sue to collect. The cost of the lawsuit is part of your damages they are liable to pay.

    Note: You CAN'T AFFORD not to hire an attorney, it for no other reason than to EDUCATE you so you don't need to ask random strangers questions EVERY landlord should  know the answers to.

  • 9 months ago

    welcome to the joys of being a landlord. what you do is sue in small claims court. No lawyer necessary. Might be a good idea to hire one to advise you anyway [but not to appear on your behalf] so that you'll do it right [this is, obviously, your first time doing this]. Frequently,a tenant such as this won't bother to show up ... in which case judgment will be entered for you in the amount prayed for -- so be sure to include your filing fee and attorney's costs in the amount asked for.

    the real fun is collecting. The court will, literally, do nothing to help you. you get to track down the tenant, locate his place of employment and bank and then apply to the court for garnishment of his wages and/or bank account.

    If you are member of local landlord's association, you'll want to inform them of this tenant and your specific complaint ... this is another means by which deadbeat tenants don't get another lease. [If you aren't a member -- join.]

    When all is said and done, you likely have a loss. While it is tax deductible, that doesn't put the cash in your pocket. This is one of the risks of being a landlord. You already agreed to run the risk .. and this time it came up snake eyes.

    Source(s): grampa -- been there, done that. Ain't going to do it again ... especially not in California
  • 9 months ago

    Can't say without knowing the laws where you live. As you say, hiring a lawyer can be costly and even if you sue and win there is no guarantee you'll see any money from the tenant. If they have no money, it'll be hard to get any from them.

  • Anonymous
    9 months ago

    I don't know how to recover money from a deadbeat! You can keep their deposit. You can file a lawsuit and get a judgment but that doesn't guarantee that you'll get any money. You can try to contact the police. But unless there is actual pictures and videos of them destroying the premises. If the perpetrator is apprehended they can always say oh we left the place in excellent condition somebody must have broke in and caused the damage after we left.

  • 9 months ago

    Before you spend your money on legal fees, take a look at his rental application and see if you think you can collect.  Does tenant have a steady job and/or assets?  People like this often live their lives as professional deadbeats.  What did his credit report show?

    It is one thing to get a judgement and quite another to get your money.  I got a $75,000 judgement against someone last year.  So far I have collected just $2,000 which did not even cover my costs.

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