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My tenants damaged my home they were renting. What are my rights for compensation?

Rochester, MI |

The tenant verbally agreed to pay for damages they caused in my home. From holes in the walls to grease stains on the kitchen ceiling, I made attempts to get reimbursement with mailed letters and pictures for a detailed amount for damages, they responded that they wanted to repair the damages, when I agreed, they did not show up for 4 scheduled appointments. I mailed letters stating what was discussed verbally. Tenant will not pay for damages over and above the security deposit. Last month rent not paid (taken from the security deposit). Am I entitled to compensation other than the security deposit? Is small claim court my only option? The amount I requested payment for was under $3000.

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Attorney answers 4


Why did you make verbal arrangements with these tenants?
What does your lease say about damages?
Why did you use SD for last month’s rent?
Why aren't you giving a pay or quite followed by an unlawful detainer (eviction) action?
Why aren't you bringing an action for damages? Small claims is not your only option.

I am NOT a MI attorney, but your post suggests that this is your first foray into the landlord-tenant world and you would be well-advised to invest a few dollars in developing a relationship with a landlord tenant attorney in your area--you would not be in the jam you're in now.
An attorney is NOT required, but you should at least consult with one before (soon) before you take any steps that prevent you from recovering damages and rent not paid, and the tenant’s security deposit (which by the way is designed to provide you security in the event of damages, not a backup for missed rent).

NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.



Made verbal arrangements beacuse they didn't show up for 4 scheduled appointments that was stated in the WRITTEN correspondence. The tenant MOVED OUT and said he was using the security deposit as his last month rent. This was not agreed to. Maybe you missed the question, I thought that was what this forum was for. Sorry

Rixon Charles Rafter III

Rixon Charles Rafter III


The forum is for lawyers to give guidance to those in need. Giving you a short 'here is what you should do next' answer will only push you further down in the quagmire.

Rixon Charles Rafter III

Rixon Charles Rafter III


You are missing the point, tenant took advantage if you, the only way you will be able to recover your losses is with an attorney at your side.


Please take your lease, proof of damages sustained (including a commencement and termination inventory check-list if you have one), and any other documents you have with regard to this rental, to an attorney versed in Landlord/Tenant law. It does not appear that you understand your rights and obligations as a landlord, and it is important that you do if you are going to continue to rent out property.

Best of luck to you,

John J. Keenan

This response applies to Michigan law only. This initial response to your question(s) is for general purposes, only, and is based upon the limited information you have provided. Therefore, this general answer should not be relied upon as a reason for your action or inaction. This response does not establish an attorney-client relationship; such a relationship may only be established by the signing of a written retainer agreement, and the payment of the agreed upon retainer. Please call me, or another attorney of your choice, with more details, and for an appointment to discuss same. Thank you for this opportunity to address your question(s).


Call an attorney as soon as possible. Many give free consultations, like myself, or will give legal advice for a nominal fee. You need to talk to an attorney about your options.

Kennedy Law Office, PLLC
Free Consultations

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship has been established. Please contact an attorney about your legal rights. This answer is for educational purposes only.


You can sue him in small claims court, but if you don't have a commencement inventory checklist you may be left holding the bag. I agree with my colleges. Review the landlord tenant law, and consult with an attorney. Property management firms are cheap when you consider the alternative. 6-10% per month.

I would be happy to review your documentation and advise you as to your options at no cost to you.

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