This week the question for Ask Landlord Hank is about how a property management company deals with tenant damage. Remember Landlord Hank is not an attorney and is not giving legal advice.
Dear Landlord Hank,
We inherited a single-family home that already had a property management company.
Lucky for us, the tenant moved out just before moratorium!
However, the home was trashed and it was clear that this had been going on for quite a while. Garbage bags and damage were everywhere. For instance, a glass shower door had broken glass and large pieces of glass protruding! And the tenant was still using the shower with just a curtain hanging! And there were 4 small children living in the home!
My question is, do I have any recourse with the property management company?
They had done their walk-through and had asked the tenant to replace the door, but failed to follow up. We also had smoke detectors beeping from June till December, when I was granted permission to enter with the property-management owner. Clearly there was neglect. We sold the house with a loss of more than $50,000 due to all the problems, including the pandemic.
Please advise if there is any way to recapture all the money lost?
I’m so sorry to hear about your situation.
Tenants like these are exactly why more people aren’t landlords; and in this case, you had a property management company that put these tenants into your place!
The property management company hopefully did a complete background screen on these tenants and shared these results with you.
Even though the company didn’t directly cause the damage to your property, they have a duty to you to protect and maintain your property and do periodic inspections (that is in my MLS agreement, anyway).
When the property management company did a walk-through inspection and noted the damage in addition to the shower door, they should have contacted you and made you aware of the situation. Did the company owner talk to you about evicting the tenants?
The eviction moratorium has put a strain on many landlords and driven some to foreclosure. I’d consult an attorney after you review your management agreement with the property-management company. Best of luck!
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