Can I sue our landlord for giving a handyman a key to our house without us there?

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Can I sue our landlord for giving a handyman a key to our house without us there?

My husband and I were out of town for a week and had been having plumbing problems. We told our landlord not to let anybody inside the house unless they would be with them. Instead, our landlord hired some handymen and gave them a key. The handymen have stolen our spare debit card, wedding rings, check books, and camera. We are out about $3,000 so far. Was it legal for our landlord to do this?

Asked on August 11, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can sue your landlord for negligence for not supervising the handymen.  Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking to recover) would be the value of the stolen items or the cost of their replacement (wedding rings and camera).  If there are any additional losses to your accounts from fraudulent use of the debit card or checkbooks, those losses should be included in your damages. Your damages should also include court costs such as the court filing fee and process server fee.  You should immediately contact your bank to stop fraudulent use of the debit card and checkbooks.

In addition to your civil suit against the landlord, you should also contact the police regarding the items stolen by the handymen.  If you are dissatisfied with the response from the police, it would be advisable to contact the District Attorney's office to pursue criminal charges against the handymen.


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