Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.
“I have a property management company that handles renting my house in NC since I reside in SC. The last tenants they placed in my house did over $2700.00 in damages and threw all their house hold garbage in the woods behind the house. They were only there 4 months, skipped out on the 5th month with out paying rent or letting anyone know they were leaving.
The management company had sent me a copy of their house inspection while the tenants were still residing there. They reported with good remarks about condition and cleanliness. When I did my inspection after I was informed that the tenants vacated the house was in shambles and it was obvious that it had never been cleaned while they resided there. The new carpet I had installed before they moved in was stained beyond cleaning, the house was infested with fleas (lease states no pets) holes in the walls, garbage, furniture and food was left. The power had been off for a month before the management company informed me the tenants had vacated.
Do I have any rights to hold the management company responsible for mismanagement and possibly not physically doing a house inspection but showing they did?
Also the management company is suppose to run financial background checks on perspective tenants but it seems that they did not do this with these tenants since I am being held responsible for court cost for the unpaid rent and late charges for one month. The tenants did not appear in court nor does it seem the management company knows where to locate them for the damages and remainder of the 1 year lease. I did find traffic summons in the trash with two different driver’s license numbers for one of the tenants. What is the legal possibility of tracking them down with these numbers?
What are my legal rights to try and re-coop any of the financial losses if the management company does not? I sent my estimates for repairs to the management company as requested before the 20th of the month. How do I know that they management company is making any real effort to find them or just going through the motions and I will end up with another court cost to pay?”I don’t understand why you are being held responsible for court costs and lost rent, particularly if the tenants did not show up for trial. Did you not serve them?
Question: Overall, you may have a claim or claims against the management company, but you may have some problems proving specifically what they did or did not do (since you were not there). However, if you can show that they did not do what they were obligated to do under your contract, you probably have a claim against them.
Finally, in terms of tracking down the tenants, you can try to contact the DMV or the police department who issued the tickets, but given the privacy regulations you may not be able to get any information from them. You might have to hire a private investigator in order to make any headway.