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

Asked over 1 year ago - 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.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. John J. Keenan

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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,... more
  2. Gary Francis Kennedy II

    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . 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... more
  3. William Joseph Bieke Jr.

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . 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.

  4. Rixon Charles Rafter III

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . 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... more

Related Topics

Landlord-tenant law

Landlord-tenant law is governed mostly by state laws, and covers issues like security deposit limits and deadlines, evictions, and the right to withhold rent.

Landlord responsiblities

Landlord responsibilities for a property they rent out include keeping the property up to local and federal codes, general maintenance, and making repairs.

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