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Tenant Moved Out, Trashed the House Beyond Recog by Kat (Colorado) on August 20, 2009 @14:20

                              
We had a family of 8 (2 parents, 6 kids) living in our rental house. There was a lease agreement in place. They stopped paying the rent 2 months ago, and we were about to begin eviction proceedings on them. Previously, when they didn't have the money for the rent, we had to use their deposit on file to pay for that rent 3 months ago. Therefore, we had no more deposit on file for them with which to protect ourselves for the future. These people turned out to be complete deadbeats and losers. A few days ago, they called to say they had moved out of their own accord. So, my father went to go look at the house and it looks like a hurricane had blown through: not only is there trash covering every square foot, but they smashed and damaged all that they could. The kicker is, a few weeks ago when my father went over to the house to make a final plea for them to pay their rent, the kids were all home alone. They told my father that "daddy had to take mommy to the hospital because she fell down the stairs and broke her leg." My dad came home and said he thought they were trying to set up a scam in order to sue, knowing they were late with the rent by 2 months. Sure enough, the other day, when the tenants called to say they had moved out, they said, in essence, that if we come after them in court for the past due rent, they will sue us for the broken leg because the house was "uninhabitable" and the stairs were broken, causing the fall. This couldn't be further from the truth. The house is in perfectly sound structural condition and was recently inspected upon purchase. This sounds like extortion. I called the Sheriff's dept., and they said there was nothing they can do, because it is all a purely civil matter. I understand the landlord/tenant part is civil, but to destroy the house and cause thousands of dollars in damage, how is this not a criminal act? What recourse do we have and what should we do? We cannot afford an attorney.
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Re: Tenant Moved Out, Trashed the House Beyond Recog by Anonymous on August 20, 2009 @14:24 [ Reply ]
Home owners insurance would cover the leg, you are right about it should be a criminal act to trash someones rental property. I feel for you.
Re: Tenant Moved Out, Trashed the House Beyond Recog by Jack Klein (NY) on August 20, 2009 @16:01 [ Reply ]
I am SO sorry to hear what happened.
This is the ugly side of being a landlord - to see what some people are capable of doing. Unfortunately, many of us have been through this kind of thing more than once. It happens in the best of properties- even by tenants who you'd never believe would do it.

TAKE PICTURES OF EVERYTHING before you clean up. A picture is worth a thousand words in court.
It's no wonder she fell down the stairs- she probably tripped on some junk.

I would go after them anyway. The broken leg is a non-issue and would not be listened to by a judge. That would have to be a separate suit and your ins. co. would squash that.

Good luck.

Do not say you can not afford an attorney. Too many landlords say that and then let the tenants walk all over them. The fact is you can not afford NOT to have an attorney.

Re: Tenant Moved Out, Trashed the House Beyond Recog by Ultimate M-Bone on August 20, 2009 @16:10 [ Reply ]
You call the police out there and file a report for the intentional property destruction. Do not let that sheriff turn you the other way. If the damages are that extensive and especially deliberate, you may want to file a claim on your insurance for it, but you will need the police report.
Do not let the tenants use the broken leg scam to deliberatly intimidate you. It's a shame what they have done and you were too nice and they more than took advantage of you. Hope everything works out for you.
Re: Tenant Moved Out, Trashed the House Beyond Recog by Anonymous on August 20, 2009 @16:39 [ Reply ]
Kat, you have to step back and ask yourself how you let such deplorable people rent your property in the first place. Did you perform extensive screening on them including speaking with prior actual verified landlords, a credit check on both adults, criminal background checks, employment and wage verifications, visting their prior residence and more? Ask yourself why you waited 60 days to begin eviction? You should have issued a 3 day pay or quit as soon as the rent was late the first month. You can't legally use their deposit for back rent until they have vacated and you do a final accounting. Did you perform periodic inspections on the property, inside and out, to see how they were taking care of the place?

Your next step is suing them in small claims court for all the damages.

Re: Tenant Moved Out, Trashed the House Beyond Recog by Susan on August 20, 2009 @17:18 [ Reply ]
WOW, I feel so bad for you. First, NEVER use the security deposit for rent, that is not what it is for! Second, do not wait to start eviction (try a pay or quit first)when they are behind in rent. Does your homeowner's insurance cover vandalism? that is NOT normal wear & tear, IT IS a criminal act. Make a police report. Best of luck to you!
Re: Tenant Moved Out, Trashed the House Beyond Recog by paul on August 20, 2009 @17:23 [ Reply ]
I'm sorry Kat; I agree with everyone here, it's true you were being too nice, do nothing to the house until you get your police report and record everything, pictures, videos etc. STOP all communication with these deadbeats in person or by phone, ANY communication you have with them, make it IN WRITING. They're not going to send you a check for what they damaged, they could not even pay rent, so you're going to have to go to Small Claims Court, but before you do, you need to dig up ALL the info you need for the claim, damages, estimates, letters, reports, all of it.

I hope this all works out for you

Re: Tenant Moved Out, Trashed the House Beyond Rec by RestlessKnight (NJ) on August 20, 2009 @22:08 [ Reply ]
Ouch. This is one of the reasons I prefer apartments over single family houses out.
Re: Tenant Moved Out, Trashed the House Beyond Recog by P-Bone in WNY (NY) on August 21, 2009 @07:20 [ Reply ]
I agree, that in order to do everything properly and have the chance to save yourself, it would be a good idea to have an attorney. If things are done properly, it will be difficult to recover anything. I paid a Lawyer over $400 to legally evict someone that wasn't paying their last month's rent when I did not renew their month-to-month tenancy. Believe me, having a judgment properly filed makes things easy.

My previous tenant paid up on the rent and late fees due, but skipped out on the lawyer fees that she agreed would be paid within 30 days. Well, 3 months later, last week actually, I went to the County Clerk and filed an Execution Against Income and paid the County Sheriff to implement it. Gotta love it, the whole process downtown took me 30 minutes. Since she's a real estate agent, she really can't hide from me, woohoo.

Re: Tenant Moved Out, Trashed the House Beyond Recog by Laura (PA) on August 21, 2009 @15:06 [ Reply ]
Take pics of the condition of the house before you start clean-up. If they try to sue for the broken leg, show the pics in court and claim she tripped over her own mess. I know exactly what you mean because like so many of us I have also "been-there-done-that", so make sure you document the condition of the house with pics and/or video BEFORE you start the rehab. A picture is worth a thousand words, and the more you have, the more words you have to work with.
Re: Tenant Moved Out, Trashed the House Beyond Recog by Kelly (Colorado ) on October 16, 2013 @14:44 [ Reply ]
Is this property located in fountain Colorado please contact me due to having information regarding your situation
Kellyz@excite.com
Re: Tenant Moved Out, Trashed the House Beyond Recog by JOE (Colorado ) on October 21, 2013 @22:39 [ Reply ]
I am going thru sort of the same process. My tenants haven't paid rent for two and a half months. so I am in the process of the evicting them, they had two pets and never reported them. Neighbors and HOAX complained about them every month, so I said enough is enough. They are moving now but I was told by my neighbors that they left the water running a dog locked inside the house that has pooped all over the place. As anyone know in Colorado if you leave the water running outside the pipes will burst when the cold weate hits. I am calling the cops tomorrow, this os vandalism.

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