What can I do regarding excessive damage done to the renral premises by my tenant?

My renter had a therapy dog, so he told me, for PTSD it was a Rottweiler did not know this and the dog has destroyed the grass and eaten the bushes in the back yard. I have pictures of the property before and after. The Rottweiler chewed up the wood blinds and window trim. The renter broke window frame at the locks, now the window cannot be locked and broke garage door. He locked himself out of the house, so he broke the door lock to gain access to the house. Around 2 months ago, I spoke with the renter about damage to the property and he said he would repair all damages before the end of the lease this month. I knew of some of the damage from the dog but not the full extent of the damage until I went to the house last weekend to change out the water heater. The damage to the property is way over the deposit amount, and he left the property with 2 months on the lease. I have learned from the other tenant that he is well aware of all the damages he didn’t care and left the state with his girlfriend for college. Thinking I should file for damages in small claims court.

Asked on June 7, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, when a tenant (or his family, guests, pet, or therapy animal) damages the landlord's property and the amount of damage exceeds the security deposit (which the landlord is entitled to keep), the landlord can sue the tenant for the surplus or extra damage over the amount of the deposit. The problem is, to sue, you need a physical address in order to "serve" him with the papers; without a phsyical address, you cannot bring him to court.

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