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  1. #1
    Temps is offline Junior Member
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    Question Tenant damaged my property, now what?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? FLORIDA

    Hi, I need some advice regarding property damage. My tenant recently vacated my apartment and left my (expensive) wooden blinds chewed by her dogs. A lot of my furniture, and the cable companies remote has also been ruined by her dogs. I also seem to be missing the cable companies modem, which I think they can charge me lots of $$ for.

    About a month ago, she asked if she could use the security deposit as last months rent. When I told her NO, she said she couldnt afford to pay last months rent and promised that my property was in good condition.

    According to the lease, she defaulted with the last months rent of $1675 (also sd amount) that ought to cover the damages. Im confused about how to go about trying to get her to agree to pay, or file a judgement, small claims court etc. For now, I only have her email address and phone #, and the catch is that I live in NY and am only here in Miami to fix and re-rent my place for 10 days. It would be problematic to have to fly back and forth for court hearings. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
    Last edited by Temps; 06-04-2009 at 04:14 PM. Reason: I'd also like to know how I can put this info on her credit.
  2. #2
    Alaska landlord is offline Senior Member
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    Get out of the rental business, or hire a good apartment manager to manage your property. By not properly screening your tenant and getting all identity information you have really put yourself at a disadvantage. You basically are left with just fixing your property and mailing an accounting of the deposit to her last known address.(the property she trashed.)
  3. #3
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    You should at the least hire a lawyer in Miami to handle finding her and taking her to court. Getting the money, even with a judgement, could still take a while if she's broke.
  4. #4
    Temps is offline Junior Member
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    Alaska Landlord, Why do you assume I didn't screen her correctly? I did, and so did my condo association. I have all of her info, but I don't know where she moved to 2 days ago. Believe me, I'd love to get out of the property rental "business", but the economy is shot so I'm stuck with my apartment until it's value goes up, and the banks start loaning. I'd love to hire a property manager but I'm on a budget, and they want 10% of the monthly rent.

    I simply asked for help with the process of reclaiming funds for the damage.

    Basically, I need to email her today and I'm not sure what to say. Should I first ask for the address where I can send her the bill? Can I threaten to put it on her credit? Should I offer her a payment plan so that we won't have to go to court?
    ecmst12- I'm afraid a lawyer will cost more than the damages, but maybe I'm wrong. thanks.
    Last edited by Temps; 06-04-2009 at 06:06 PM.
  5. #5
    Cheeseknife is offline Member
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    You can file in small claims court, you might be able to hire a lawyer to do this and you might not. In some states lawyers are not allowed to take part in small claims actions, which would mean you'd have to be there. If you can get her to pay it without going to court, it's not a bad idea. As many have found out, judgements aren't neccessarily worth the paper they're printed on.
  6. #6
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    You can't report it on her credit unless you get a court judgement. Until the judge affirms that it is a valid debt, she doesn't legally owe it. It's not like a credit card or a utility bill where she signed a contract promising to pay, first you have to prove to the court that she caused this damage. Then the judgement can be reported to the credit bureaus.
  7. #7
    Alaska landlord is offline Senior Member
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    [QUOTE=Temps;2276826]Alaska Landlord, Why do you assume I didn't screen her correctly?

    Sorry, but when someone saids I only have her email address and phone # I tend to think a handshake rental agreement has taken place.

    If you can't be present, you can always hire an attorney to represent you.
    Last edited by Alaska landlord; 06-05-2009 at 04:21 AM.
  8. #8
    aabbcc is offline Member
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    Why do you assume I didn't screen her correctly?
    Because you rented to someone who couldn't/didn't pay their rent.
    Did you pull a credit report? What is her FICO score?

    I believe this person has a long history of property damage and unpaid rent. A person with good credit is unlikely to risk a lawsuit, collections, and damage to their credit rating.


    While you are free to argue that you did everything right, you are the one faced with the unpaid bills.
    Unless you make changes, be prepared for more of the same with future tenants.


    Good luck collecting. In Florida, most assets are exempt from a creditor's claim.
    Last edited by aabbcc; 06-05-2009 at 11:22 AM.

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