If I rent a room to a girl and her dogs have done damage to my house, can I sue her?

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If I rent a room to a girl and her dogs have done damage to my house, can I sue her?

I rent a room to a girl that answered an add. We did not sign a lease and I did not charge her a security deposit. Her dogs have done a lot of damage to my house; broken blinds, ruined down comforter and pee stains on my hardwood floors. I actually kicked her out within 24 hours, but then let her stay. 11 days ago I sent her a 7 day notice to leave via email documenting the issues with pictures. She won’t leave. I read that if I evict her that actually gives her 60 days. I need to get her out.

Asked on August 11, 2011 Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, if someone damages your property either deliberately or negligently (through unreasonable carelessness), you can sue for them compensation--for the cost to repair or replace, basically. For a tenant, this also applies if her guests or pets did the damage.

If there's no lease, she is a month-to-month tenant, so you have an absolute right to terminate her tenancy (on one month's notice) in addition to *possibly* having grounds to evict her for the damage--the problem is that evicting someone for damage generally requires either a written lease allowing that, or that the damage be intentional or deliberate, not careless or negligent. Your best bet is to retain an attorney with landlord-tenant experience to both look into grounds for eviction (and take care of doing so--notices, summons and complaint, etc.) and into suing her for the damages. There are many attorneys who specialize in this; were you in NJ, I could handle it, for example.


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