What to do about a breach of a rent to own agreement and items stolen by a tenant?

UPDATED: Sep 12, 2011

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What to do about a breach of a rent to own agreement and items stolen by a tenant?

We totally rehabbed a rental property 4 years wyth the intention to sell. We did a rental agreement that was to be converted to an agreement of sale within 1 year. Tenant was getting a 5-figure accident settlement (confirmed this with her lawyer) and was going to buy the home when it came through. It kept dragging on. She kept giving us stories. We had also hired her at our company. She got behind in rent, her husband became disabled and was awaiting government assistance. She promised to pay us at settlement repeatedly. About a year ago her grandmother died and left this tenant her home. So our tenant moved out moved, leaving $6k in back rent, plus she took the drapes, artwork, and furniture that was in home (we had “staged”it for sale). Also have unpaid util bills. She still works at our company.

Asked on September 12, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Okay well it is very dangerous to proceed here with her still working at your company because I would guide you to seek legal counsel about suing her for breach of the contract, theft of property in the house and what ever else you can come up with as a cause of action under your set of facts.  If you do obtain a judgement then you would want to consider acting on it in the manner permitted under your state law.  That could include garnishment of her salary but being her employer that might be a conflict here that you do not want to get involved with.  You could put a lien on the house that she inherited (as long as it is in her name) and wait to see if she ever sells to collect.  Get legal help here.  Good luck.

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