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Tenants Vandalized Home & Moved Out - Landlord Forum thread 358786

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Tenants Vandalized Home & Moved Out by Susie_B on December 2, 2018 @18:51

Hello everybody. My brother and I have a rental home in Los Angeles, CA we inherited from our parents. October 1st my brother told our tenants, a young family with one child who had been there for over 7 years, that the home was going to go up for sale in the next few months in case they wanted to make an offer, but that they didnít have to worry and that we were going to give them two months noticed. All these years we never had any issues with them been late with their payments.
Then October 19th my brother phone them again to tell them that the rent for October had not been paid and to ask if they were interested in buying it. They told him that they canít afford it and that they had been moving out and that more than 80% of the home has been empty out and that they were going to be moved out by end of October.
My brother told the husband that nobody had given us any noticed at all and that it wasnít fair since we could had been making plans to sell it and could already be fixing anything needed. So they moved out and never paid for October and November since no notice was given.
They signed a contract when they moved which it says, they must give us 30 days noticed before moving out. After the 2ndyear we didnít have any more contracts with them and all rent increase was done via letters or emails. We agree that everything would continue the same as it was on the contract and they agree.
Our tenants had told us, is all written in emails, that the home was going to be left in the same great condition they got it 8 years ago. Well it was the opposite. On November 4th we went to check it out we found our home in the worse terrible shape.
They didnt clean anything and left a bunch of useless stuffs that we had to tossed things like cheap old dryer and a fridge. Lots of junks inside and outside the home. Dirt everywhere, kitchen floor tiles and counter broken (as if someone was in a rage and banged some heavy pots on them), the bathroom vanity was destroyed, the nice wood floor will have to be redone, the front lawn was green and quite nicely looking yet they let it go dead even when we were paying for the gardener. There are a few things that we are trying to sell but that is not what we care to do or wish to do and it will bring us little money at all.
We also brought in a couple real estate people to get some ideas and it wasnít great for they told us that our home had been vandalized and needed plenty of fixing which we already knew. On November 5th we brought a cleaning crew and they worked for 3 days. And now we have a contractor and his crew working non-stop to repair and fix what needs to be done at a cost of 35K, to get the home close to how it was, we even had to take a small loan for that. They also owed us two months of rent, $4,000 per month. This is beyond a small claim court.
Any of you know any real estate attorneys, or companies, in the Los Angeles County that can go after this couple? Ironically, we found out that they moved a few blocks nearby and are paying good rent there. We prefer an attorney that can settled with us after we recoup our lost or if there are any company that would do it for a % that works fine too.
We just want to recoup the damage and the lost of income due to their debacle and also report them to any office credit borough so anybody can be aware of this couple and what they did to us doesnít happen to someone else. Nobody deserves been treated so poorly and without respect when we treated them so well and always took care of all their needs ASAP. We are quite upset and feel powerless. There should be better law for landlords.
BTW we did call but they want 50% of the settlement. Any other company or attorney that can help us at a lower cost? We also will check with which keeps 38%. We just donít want to hired two agencies at the same time.
Our huge mistake was not hiring from day one a rental company to manage the property. Wish we had done that but we trusted a friend who knew this couple. Hard lesson learned.
Thanks for any great help! I would post photos but donít know how to do it or if there is a way to do so.

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Re: Tenants Vandalized Home & Moved Out by LAMAC66 on December 3, 2018 @07:42 [ Reply ]
Sorry I didnt read all you wrote. Quite a long post but based on the first things you stated all you need to do is post pay or quit notice, then file to evict.

Get the judgement and try to get the money from damages from that as the security deposit will not cover much. It's not easy going after tenants for damage.

Good luck.
Re: Tenants Vandalized Home & Moved Out by Phillip on December 3, 2018 @14:16 [ Reply ]
This is going to come as a real surprise, but given that I have learned a lot, if I was a tenant, there's a chance I could sue you.

Based on what you stated, no notice was given at all in regards to moving out and you have no written notice that they moved out by the end of October. So, for all intended purposes, your "prior" tenant can still claim that they are residents of the unit and anything and everything that you tossed away and cleaned up could be irreplaceable, valuable heirlooms. So, you actually trespassed on a property that they were residing in and stole from them. Additionally, the minute they didn't pay October, a "Pay or Quit" notice should have been sent outlying the requirements of payment, abandonment, and/or agreement to quit (move out). ďState law permits former tenants to reclaim abandoned personal property left at the former address of the tenant, subject to certain conditions.  You may or may not be able to reclaim property without incurring additional costs, depending on the cost of storing the property and the length of time before it is reclaimed.  In general, these costs will be lower the sooner you contact your former landlord after being notified that property belonging to you was left behind after you moved out.Ē

Additionally, the landlord was required to notify the tenant, in writing of his/her option to request an initial inspection and of his/her right to be present. The purpose of the initial inspection shall be to allow the tenant an opportunity to remedy identified deficiencies, in a manner consistent with the rights and obligations of the parties under the rental agreement, in order to avoid deductions from the security.

Regardless, let's say you accepted their verbal notice to move out and they acknowledge that as well. You are required to return any security deposit (let's assume it's about $4,000, equal to one month's rent) within 21 days of tenant vacancy. Failure to follow the law and provide these notices can result in the former tenant suing for twice the security deposit or $8,000 above and beyond the deposit itself. The bad faith claim or retention by a landlord or the landlord's successors in interest of the security or any portion thereof in violation of this section, or the bad faith demand of replacement security in violation of subdivision (j), may subject the landlord or the landlord's successors in interest to statutory damages of up to twice the amount of the security, in addition to actual damages.

See more at the state code:
Re: Tenants Vandalized Home & Moved Out by June on December 4, 2018 @21:19 [ Reply ]
Sad to say, their behavior is standard operating procedure for so many T's. $35K is the usual amt. of damages those types do. Just tenant proof your rental property as best you can afford. Take photos before any new move ins, then immediately photo document upon their move out. It's called EVIDENCE. You can try suing them, but not in Small Claims Court because of the large amount, BUT you are in a TENANT FRIENDLY state. Sometimes it's just better to move on, fix it up either for a sale or for a rental. If for a rental, use heavy duty materials that are as tenant poof as possible. Years ago I had a lady with a child and she also did $35K of damages. I sympathize with you. Wasted my $$$ on lawyer and got zip. Cannot squeeze $$$ from a turnip. Wishing you all the best in the future. You got burned, but it is an education. Use what you learn so as not to be fried again. Take advantage of all the good stuff you will be learning on this LPA site and use their forms! Never forget: SCREENING, SCREENING AND MORE SCREENING!

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