Can I sue tenants for damages to my house even if we never executed a lease agreement?

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Can I sue tenants for damages to my house even if we never executed a lease agreement?

I rented my house out to 4 individuals that (my mistake) seemed like great people. They had all of the utilities transfer ed to their names, They paid rent on time and I have plenty of email correspondence showing that they lived there. However, they all skated on me and left my house in ruins. Can I take legal action against them? My ignorant self never had them sign a lease.

Asked on August 9, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Indiana

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A landlord-tenant relationship can be formed with or without a written lease. When there is only an oral agreement, a peridoic tenancy is formed. This is more commonly known as a "month-to-month lease". Therefore, as the landlord, you have the right to sue your former tenants for any and all damages that they committed or caused to be done to the rental premises.

At this point, you can sue the tenants in small clams court for the amount of the damages you suffered. Just be sure to have all of your supporting evidence with you - utility bills with their name on then (if you can get them), e-mail corresponsence, witnesses, picutes of the damage, etc.

 


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