What are my rights against a management company regarding their mismanagement of my property?

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What are my rights against a management company regarding their mismanagement of my property?

I am a homeowner who as hired a rental agency to manage my property for the past 8 years. I  have recently discovered negligence do to the improper management of the property. For example, we have a no pet contract. I recently had to stop by my home only to find the tenant not only has a dog but a total of 4 animals. Additionally, there was an uncle living in a van, garbage out of control, and this is only the outside. I’m scared to enter my own home. I contacted my property management and advised them that I was not happy and was going to stop by the office in a couple of days to discuss matters. 2days later I recieved a cancellation of contract.

Asked on December 14, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The last line of your question holds the key to your answer: you have a contract with the management company and they seemed to have breached the terms of the contract by violating various provisions.  This type of forum does not lend itself well to being able to guide you properly because one needs to be able to read the contract in its entirety. But their cancellation of the contract as a result of one phone call from you lead me to believe that they are running scared.  What was the reason they gave for the cancellation?  Sounds like they are trying to make a case but you need to go back to your house and take pictures of the condition to make yours.  Good luck. 

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If they breached their contract with you, and/or were negligent in performing the duties they assumed, you could sue them for your costs or losses, such as the cost to clean up the property (garbage, pet hair and odor, etc.) or make repairs caused by their unruly or improper tenanats, etc. You can only sue for actual damages, costs, or losses, so you need to decide whether or not it is worthwhile to do so; note that it's possible you can also recover some of the money you paid them for the time they were not managing per your contract. If the tenant with the dogs signed a lease  with the property manager who was acting as your agent and the tenant had no reason to know of the no pets requirement, you will probably have to honor the lease with him or her--though you will not have to renew it when its term is up.


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