Can you sue a tenant for clean up expenses if they leave a property with trash, debris, their own property, etc....

Asked about 4 years ago - Durham, NC

I had a commercial tenant that left a commercial property with tons of trash, debris, wood, telephone polls, etc....construction type of debris. The property had been used for storage, and when they left they left a big mess. They also left damage to the grounds where they drove trucks in the yard. I have tried to contact them about cleaning up but they will not return my calls or text. If I have to spend money to clean the place up can I sue for those expenses in small claims court? File a claim against a surety bond? I estimate cleanup to be about $1000. This was a month to month rental (sublease) and the owner would hold me liable if I didn't clean up. What are my options to compel this company to clean up or get my money back if they do not? No security deposit.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Stephen F Wallace

    Contributor Level 19

    Answered . Were you the Lessor and subleased it to another. If so, you have to clean up the mess depending on your own lease. You should have gotten a security deposit and charged that for the cleanup. Try to work it out with them and if that fails, consult a local attorney for some advice on your paperwork.

  2. James S. Tupitza

    Contributor Level 18

    Answered . What does the lease say? Absent a specific provision, it is usually assumed that a tenant will leave the premises as found. If the tenant does not, they are responsible for the clean-up


    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Responses are based solely on Pennsylvania law unless stated otherwise.

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