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

UPDATED: Aug 9, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Aug 9, 2012Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

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


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

Answered 10 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.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption