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How should I file a lawsuit on a tenant who trashed/destroyed my property? I do not know her current address.

San Diego, CA |

We tried to get a police to the property but they won't even come since the said damage was less than $5000 (estimated by us over the phone). First, this tenant impersonated somebody else to rent the place. She used somebody else's ID which she claimed as hers. As I tried evicting her on her fake name, she made a claim of right to possession using her true name and did not appear in court. Instead she called the phone with a different name and talked to the commissioner presiding the case. She is evicted now but what should I do?

I looked at court records with her true name and I see that she has victimized lots of property owners. She has about 5 eviction records and 3 criminal records.

How should I get her arrested for that?

Thanks in advance.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

I do not believe you want to throw additional good money and time after bad. Suing her would cost you about $400.00 for a filing fee, and probably a few hundred more to get her served. Once you had a judgment against her, you would have to find her bank account or employer to enforce the judgment. Given her past record, I doubt you would ever collect against her.

As far as getting the police or another government entity to act, the police would probably tell you it was a civil matter. Phone calls to the police would probably not get any results. Filling out a police report would probably not get any result. The police have bigger fish to fry.

I have seen people get some results in similar situations by going down to the police station in person and very politely jumping up and down until they received attention.

You probably do not need to be told this but, next time run the criminal and eviction checks before you rent out to a new tenant.

I sympathize with you and wish you the best.




Thank you for your answer. The police really don't care. Learning this lesson has been hard and expensive. Hoping others learn from my mistake.


I agree with Attorney Poindexter's practical advice. You can file a small claims lawsuit for the property damage, but you still need to locate her, and even after you get a judgment against her, you need to be able to enforce the judgment in order to collect any monies.

It is not likely that you can get her arrested for repeatedly causing damage as a tenant.



Thank you. You have answered many of my questions and I just want to say I really appreciate it.


If you're just looking to get her arrested (not recover your money) then you should start by filing police reports.

As Attorney Poindexter has already said, it probably isn't worth it to pursue her over $5k, but if you want to, talk to a local attorney - you're going to need one. Especially if you have to track her down.

This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The post is only an opinion. You should speak to an attorney for further information. The poster is licensed only in CT & NY. Please visit for more information about our services. If this post is useful to you, please remember to upvote it.