What to do about a tenant that is causing excessive damage?

UPDATED: Apr 13, 2011

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What to do about a tenant that is causing excessive damage?

I have a new tenant (1 month) that keeps breaking appliances and demands that I fix them immediately. We have replaced a refrigerator, stove, and now the tenant claimed the handle broke off of the hot water heater. I am beginning to think this girl is purposely doing these things; this apartment was immaculate and all was in good working order when she moved in. We signed a 1 year lease.

Asked on April 13, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) If the tenant (or tenant's guests, family, workers she brings in, visitors, or pets) breaks anything in your apartment, you may charge her for the repairs--and, if necessary, take amounts out of her security deposit. You are not obligated to allow her to break things and fix them for free.

1a) Obviously, if she won't admit she broke them, proof *may* be an issue--though if the apartment is in her control and it's broken at that time (and not while, for example, you have your own workers or contractors in their), you should be able to prove to a sufficient satisfaction that it's her fault.

2) Also, a tenant willfully or grossly negligently breaking the landlord's belongings often provides grounds to evict a tenant, which is something you should consider.

You should consult with a local attorney who does landlord-tenant law to explore your options and take appropriate action.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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