Can a family member living in a house but is not the owner be charged for property damage?

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Can a family member living in a house but is not the owner be charged for property damage?

We have a family member living in the house, who is a drug addict and has caused much property damage to our home such as electrical outlets, and home appliances. It is to the point where we have locks on everything, including our power box which we know is a safety issue. However, it’s the only way we can be assured that he can’t play with anything. If we were to install security cameras and catch footage of him breaking items, can we take him to court as a threat to us?

Asked on October 16, 2016 under Criminal Law, Hawaii

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, if someone, including a family member allowed to live there, negligently or carelesy damages your property, you can sue him for the cost to repair or replace. If he recklessly (extremely carelessly, with no thought of the consequences) or intentionally does damage, not only can he be sued, but you could also press charges for the property distruction or vandalism. If you are aware that he has drugs on him, you could inform the police of that, too. And if he is damaging your property, you can remove him from the permanently, whether he is a guest (no rent) or a rwnt paying tenant--a landlord-tenant attorney can help you with this.
 
 


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