Landlord / Tenant Matter to recover losses from excessive property damage

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Landlord / Tenant Matter to recover losses from excessive property damage

I am a landlord of a long time tenant who was given a 3 month notice to move if they did not want to purchase the home. She did not so I gave her 2 months extra time to move. The property is in another state and I had not seen it in years. I assume that she working at home and was a clean professional. However, recently when I saw the property it was trashed horribly. I expected to do paint, replace carpet and minor repairs but the property had been trashed with pets and no cleaning for a long time. I’ve never gone after a person for damages. Is is worth the cost of a lawyer to go after her for damages in excess of $4000? I have her phone and email but not her new address in the same city. I have photos and collecting all receipts of work being done on the house.

Asked on June 16, 2017 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you are in a different state, it is probably not worth suing her. You will have to travel for the lawsuit--one at a minimum, for the trial date (assuming that the case does not settle), and possibly more, if the matter extends across more than one day, is adjourned, etc. So you will have to incur (presumbably) travel, possibly hotel, etc. costs, which you cannot recover in a lawsuit, and will also presumably lose time from work (which again, you cannot recover). Since you cannot be 100% certain of winning or--even if you do win--of getting every dollar you believe you entitled to, you could be paying (or giving up in lost work time) hundreds or thousands of dollars for a chance (maybe a good chance, but still not a guaranty) of winning up to (but not necessarily all of) the repair costs. 
The above is without an attorney; even without a lawyer, suing someone nonlocal to you for $4,000+ is often marginal, due to the travel costs, time, etc. involved. If you do hire a lawyer and pay legal fees (which you can't get back in court), you will almost certainly in total spend more than you hope to get back (since you'll *still* have to travel to testify in court--the attorney has no personal knowledge of the situation and therefore cannot testify).

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 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption