Can I sue for pet damages to my house by ex live-in boyfriend?

UPDATED: May 18, 2009

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Can I sue for pet damages to my house by ex live-in boyfriend?

I had a live-in boyfriend for several months in my house and his dogs scratched up my hardwood floors, deck, and left holes in the grass in the backyard. He is waivering at even paying half of the damages as i have asked, even though he makes significantly more than i do and was clearly the cause of the breakup. Can i successfully take this to court without a signed lease and get the full amount? Is a civil suit better? I estimate just over $3000 in repairs on the low end.

Asked on May 18, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


J.M.A., Member in Good Standing of the Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

This sounds like a negligence case at best - i.e. boyfriend's failure to control his dogs.  If the maximum small claims amount is 5K, then i suggest taking him to court there.  Not having a signed lease will not help you, but you can certainly claim that your ex had a duty to supervise his dogs so they wouldnt destroy the house.  I suggest having a lawyer send your ex a letter giving him notice of the lawsuit unless payment is made.  On your end, i would get estimates as to the amount of damages so that you are credible when you indicate the amount of money to fix the house as opposed toa ball park figure.  The court will want to know that you are not using this to get unjustly enriched.  lastly, it doesnt matter who caused the break up, but if it was the argument relating to his dogs causing damage and you warned him in the past and asked him to supervise his dogs, then i think it is important to note.

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