My former tenant damaged my property & stole appliances-does any landlord have experience with seeking money?

Asked by Bernice, Philadelphia, PA Tue Feb 3, 2009

after the tenant moves out of the place. She moved out before her lease was up within days, but left quite a bit of mess and damages to the property.

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Terrence Cha…, Home Owner, Allentown, PA
Tue Feb 3, 2009
"Stole appliances". Sounds like a job for the police, don't you think?

File a police report of the stolen and damaged property, take pictures of the damaged property and get with a real estate attorney to see what your options are.

Terrence Charest, e-Pro
1 vote
Kimtrepanier…, Home Buyer, Philadelphia, PA
Wed Feb 10, 2016
Ok my husband and I had a roommate for one week and one night he moved out and took my garage opener what do I do.
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Chris and St…, Agent, Philadelphia, PA
Tue Feb 3, 2009

Your situation is not unusual. This is the importance of leases and collecting first, last month and security deposit upfront. Did you have that for protection ? Do you have a management company or do you manage it yourself ?

Filing a police report is fine but recovering your damages will be a longshot. It would be hard to prove who did it (even though you might "know" ) . The cost of legal pursuit might not be worth the headaches. The best way to prevent this in the future is in the beginning.

We own several investment properties ourselves in Philadelphia. It is an art and a skill and sometimes there is just bad luck. For example, recently we had copper stolen from one of our investment properties a few days after a tenant moved out. Coincidence ?

In any event, feel free to check out 2 of our sites that focus on Philadelphia Investment Properties: "our blog"

Am sorry that this happened, but sometimes a negative event can be turned into a positive as when a tenant moves out it offers the opportunity to either sell the property or get the placed spruced up for a higher rental !

Chris Somers
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Sheri Curci, Agent, Newtown, PA
Tue Feb 3, 2009
Police Reports & Lots-O-Pictures

Cover Your ASSets

John Curci RE/MAX
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Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Tue Feb 3, 2009
Review your executed lease agreement, file court action. If you win a judgement reported on her credit report via courts . Photographs, contractor invoice, replacement of appliances, remaining lease amount. You most likely have a judgement in small claims court. Here is Texas we can file up to $10K without attorney representing plaintiff. Good luck.

Also if damage is still remaining contact Police Department file a complaint. Attach to legal petition filed against her.
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Kitty Power…, Agent, Isle of Palms, SC
Tue Feb 3, 2009
File a police report, and take lots of pictures. Get multiple estimates for all work and/or replacement cost for appliances. File a small claims suit against the tenant for damages and replacement cost. Seek legal advice before making repairs or replacing items.
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Peter Lavelle, Agent, Philadelphia, PA
Tue Feb 3, 2009
Hi Bernice,

File a police report for the stolen appliances and damages. Also, do you have a security deposit? What does the lease state for early termination of your lease? Always seek legal advice.

0 votes
OK, maybe in Pennsylvania. In California, police will not intervene in what they insist is a civil dispute. For instance, my tenant was evicted. Sometime during the eviction process, she removed an antique hall coatrack. This was clearly NOT part of the lease, being spelled out as LOANED to the tenant. Deputy, interpreting the CA statutes, said that does not apply, she had a right to it and refused to take a theft report! If I loan my neighbor my lawnmower and he sells it, isn't that theft? If I loan my tenant my lawnmower, he can sell it?!?
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