What are our rights as ownersregarding abreaking and entering of our rental property?

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What are our rights as ownersregarding abreaking and entering of our rental property?

A person in our distant family made a copy of a key to a condo that we own/rent out to others. She did not have permission and would have gotten away with staying for the week had a paying customer and his wife not shown up. The person later admitted to us via text message that they did in fact stay without permission. We want to know our rights as owners. Can we sue for breaking and entering? Can we press chargers, etc.? We have to travel 800 miles just to file a police report. All receipts are being collected for travels/money spent for changing the locks, etc.

Asked on October 18, 2011 under Criminal Law, Indiana

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Well here is the problem. She did not physically break and enter with the intent of commiting a larceny therein. You can sue her for unlawfully staying by suing her for the rent money she would have owed. I am not sure, but I do not believe you have to travel 800 miles to file a police report. Further, if someone else gave her the key and that person had permission to have the key, then there may be an uphill battle in criminal court for you. The best thing to do is sue this person for the monies owed you and see if she would be willing to accept payments. A police report filing is a good thing because essentially you are setting a record for her unlawful stay at your rental home.


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