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  1. #1
    mary6265 is offline Junior Member
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    tenant destroyed property, landlord rights?

    I live in Michigan and have a rental property in Detroit. I was conned by a mortgage person into purchasing this property with the understanding that her cousin would move into the home with the intention of purchasing it from me within the next two years. I signed for the property in August of 2005 and had no problems with the tenant. We have a lease agreement stating that she is to be responsible for taxes, insurance, the mortgage and any repairs that the property may need. I went along thinking that she was caring for the house as her home and left everything up to her to take care of. In May of 2006 did not receive a payment and could not get in contact with the tenant. I went to the home and was horrified by what I found. She had moved into her sister's home and left three dogs locked inside the house. After talking to the neighbors they explained to me what had been going on. First of all she had a dog which had two litters in the house and ended up with a total of 15 dogs living in a 680 sq foot home. A few months ago the basement flooded with sewage and in attempts to clean it up the woman pumped raw sewage down the driveway into the sewer. The neighbors had been patient with her but realized she had some type of mental problem. Due to the odor and fear of being mauled by her dogs they called the authorities and told them they thought there was a dead body in the home at which point the police came over, broke windows, threw in tear gas to calm the dogs and broke the door down. At that point they shot five of the dogs with rifles and took some of the others to animal control. I tried to work with the woman and she claimed to be cleaning up the house and coming up with money to hire a cleaning crew to clean up the basement. I continued coming by and seeing minimal clean up occurring. I had neighbors calling me constantly complaining of odor, fear of the dogs, and maintenance of the lawn and after writing the woman letters about cleaning up the house and removing the dogs to no avail I called animal control and had the dogs removed myself. They were obviously sick, there were piles of diarrhea everywhere and one of the dogs actually went all down the steps as he was being removed. I'm guessing sick from the odor and contamination from the sewers as well as their own mess. I previously was unable to get into the house to assess the damage because of them but now was able to see how bad it really was. In a second letter I warned the woman that I would have the locks changed and her belonging removed if she did not respond in two days. I received no response so I had the locks changed about a week later. I did not go through a legal eviction process due to the damage and because a lawyer I had contacted told me that he felt our lease agreement was not legally binding or valid. I want to file a suit against her in small claims court but I want to know what my rights are at this point. Plus I see there is probably no reason to file suit against someone who has no money. Secondly, I am afraid she is going to come to the house and try to break in and or destroy what's left of the home. Can I get some kind of order against her to stop her from doing this? Should I file an eviction with the city at this point? I know she moved out probably in early April and has been living with her sister which I know where she lives but keeping this house as a dog house. Please help!!
  2. #2
    acmb05 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mary6265
    I live in Michigan and have a rental property in Detroit. I was conned by a mortgage person into purchasing this property with the understanding that her cousin would move into the home with the intention of purchasing it from me within the next two years. I signed for the property in August of 2005 and had no problems with the tenant. We have a lease agreement stating that she is to be responsible for taxes, insurance, the mortgage and any repairs that the property may need. I went along thinking that she was caring for the house as her home and left everything up to her to take care of. In May of 2006 did not receive a payment and could not get in contact with the tenant. I went to the home and was horrified by what I found. She had moved into her sister's home and left three dogs locked inside the house. After talking to the neighbors they explained to me what had been going on. First of all she had a dog which had two litters in the house and ended up with a total of 15 dogs living in a 680 sq foot home. A few months ago the basement flooded with sewage and in attempts to clean it up the woman pumped raw sewage down the driveway into the sewer. The neighbors had been patient with her but realized she had some type of mental problem. Due to the odor and fear of being mauled by her dogs they called the authorities and told them they thought there was a dead body in the home at which point the police came over, broke windows, threw in tear gas to calm the dogs and broke the door down. At that point they shot five of the dogs with rifles and took some of the others to animal control. I tried to work with the woman and she claimed to be cleaning up the house and coming up with money to hire a cleaning crew to clean up the basement. I continued coming by and seeing minimal clean up occurring. I had neighbors calling me constantly complaining of odor, fear of the dogs, and maintenance of the lawn and after writing the woman letters about cleaning up the house and removing the dogs to no avail I called animal control and had the dogs removed myself. They were obviously sick, there were piles of diarrhea everywhere and one of the dogs actually went all down the steps as he was being removed. I'm guessing sick from the odor and contamination from the sewers as well as their own mess. I previously was unable to get into the house to assess the damage because of them but now was able to see how bad it really was. In a second letter I warned the woman that I would have the locks changed and her belonging removed if she did not respond in two days. I received no response so I had the locks changed about a week later. I did not go through a legal eviction process due to the damage and because a lawyer I had contacted told me that he felt our lease agreement was not legally binding or valid. I want to file a suit against her in small claims court but I want to know what my rights are at this point. Plus I see there is probably no reason to file suit against someone who has no money. Secondly, I am afraid she is going to come to the house and try to break in and or destroy what's left of the home. Can I get some kind of order against her to stop her from doing this? Should I file an eviction with the city at this point? I know she moved out probably in early April and has been living with her sister which I know where she lives but keeping this house as a dog house. Please help!!
    I take it you did not like the answer I gave on this exact same question a few days ago?
  3. #3
    mary6265 is offline Junior Member
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    It's not that but I wanted to make sure I could get as many views as possible. So you're saying if someone destroys and abandons a property possibly stopping by a couple times a week for a matter of minutes that I could be sued because I didn't legally evict her? I have estimates of close to $2500 to clean up the property and get it back in livable condition. It's unsafe for life. I have mold specialists coming in to take air and mold samples that couldn't do it becasue the odor of animal feces and urine is too strong.
  4. #4
    BL
    BL is offline Senior Member
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    Get in there , get it cleaned up , change the locks , and re rent it .

    If the X tenant takes you to Court get all your documentations from the authorities , clean up personal , and all other pertinent documents and present them to the Court .

    In addition to animal control , the health Dept. should have been called in , and the place deemed unlivable , until cleaned up .
  5. #5
    mary6265 is offline Junior Member
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    I have already changed the locks and thed health department already knows about the problems. At first I was going to allow her back in the house to get her things and I gave her a time limit to contact me but she waited weeks and I am in no way going to do her any favors since clean up has been hell. Even with masks were running out sick. The windows have been boarded up. Initially I was going to place her things outside but I recently found out about the roach infestation as well as other insects and did not want to affect the neighbors any more badly. I figured she could contact me by mail or have her lawyer contact me since the neighbors are making me concerned for my own safety regarding her now. Should I bother to sue her for the damage?? Even though she is broke I'd like some kind of liability to follow her.
    '
    Quote Originally Posted by Blonde Lebinese
    Get in there , get it cleaned up , change the locks , and re rent it .

    If the X tenant takes you to Court get all your documentations from the authorities , clean up personal , and all other pertinent documents and present them to the Court .

    In addition to animal control , the health Dept. should have been called in , and the place deemed unlivable , until cleaned up .
  6. #6
    BL
    BL is offline Senior Member
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    Sure , you could sue her and if you get a Judgment it could fallow her .

    Check out Court cost , etc .

    Do you know where she lives or works to have her served ?

    Do you know the procedures to sue ?

    If not , weight the court cost , and attorney fees against your chances of recovery ?

    At the very least consult a Landlord / tenant Attorney for a small fee .
  7. #7
    xylene is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mary6265
    It's not that but I wanted to make sure I could get as many views as possible. So you're saying if someone destroys and abandons a property possibly stopping by a couple times a week for a matter of minutes that I could be sued because I didn't legally evict her?
    Yes.

    And to be honest, I kind of hope so too.

    You are an idiot for letting this happen. These kinds of circumstances don't just pop up out of nowhere.

    You did neglect the property for almost a year and a half...


    I have estimates of close to $2500 to clean up the property and get it back in livable condition. It's unsafe for life. I have mold specialists coming in to take air and mold samples that couldn't do it becasue the odor of animal feces and urine is too strong.
    2500 is small potatoes for a decontamination grade clean-up.

    Pay the bill and sue the lady.

    And good luck seperating the sewer backup from the dogs..
  8. #8
    acmb05 is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blonde Lebinese
    Get in there , get it cleaned up , change the locks , and re rent it .

    If the X tenant takes you to Court get all your documentations from the authorities , clean up personal , and all other pertinent documents and present them to the Court .

    In addition to animal control , the health Dept. should have been called in , and the place deemed unlivable , until cleaned up .
    The problem is that she should have gotten all of that BEFORE changing the locks and doing clean up. I seriously dought they would sue her for illegal eviction as they probably don't know they could, but better safe than sorry.
  9. #9
    BL
    BL is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by acmb05
    The problem is that she should have gotten all of that BEFORE changing the locks and doing clean up. I seriously dought they would sue her for illegal eviction as they probably don't know they could, but better safe than sorry.
    I can't see a Court in favor of the tenant as the Landlord has all this documented , and as they said the windows are boarded and mask are needed to clean . But I do agree there are plenty of absentee landlords . If the Landlords aren't going to include random or periodic inspections as per proper notice , shame on them .

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