No Accountability with Tenants, or Property Manager
We have a rental property we own in WV that we need to sell ASAP. We tried renting our home for the past 2 years. We tried managing the property ourselves the first year, but after doing an inspection in the Spring last year, we found a shattered sliding door, broken windows, pet damage to walls and doors, etc. We gave them a letter specifically outlining all the things they needed to fix before move-out or we would deduct from their deposit. They were not happy and threatened not to pay rent the last 2 months and because we now live 3 hours away, it was hard to manage them so we hired a property manager and turned everything over to them. He assured me he would take care of everything and for us not to worry. We did a walk-thru, I showed him the house, pointed out damage that they were to fix and went over everything in great detail. I asked him to take pictures. He found us new tenants, did a screening, we signed a lease agreement. The first family moved out, we wanted to see the condition of the house but the property manager insisted we not come for at least 4 or 5 weeks and let the new family settle in. We never saw the inspection sheets, even though we asked for them. He said nothing was noted on the move-out inspection. The new family moved in, I was told there was a lot of little things noted on the move-in inspection, but nothing serious. We did not make a trip to the house until Sept. the people complained to us about the condition of the 4-seasons room carpet, they had to clean it 5 times to get it clean and they told us about the rolled up carpet in the garage that was full of fleas that we left in the family room originally. We had everything cleaned well by professionals before we moved, and we had new 15 year upgraded carpet in the 4-seasons room and living room installed the year before we had to move because of an unexpected job change. We talked to the property manager about these things after we learned of them but he just brushed them off as no big deal, these people had a carpet cleaner and took care of it. We asked for another inspection in April, finally around May 7th, we got an email message as the report from inspection that said there was a water stain on the ceiling in the laundry room but it was dry. We also kept discussing listing our house for sale with the property manager-real estate agent starting Memorial Weekend. The family already stated they would be moving out at the end of the lease. Despite all my calls and emails about it, Memorial Day came and went and our house was not listed. I asked him why and he said I never returned the listing agreement. I searched all my emails and no listing agreement was ever sent. So I sent him an email him and clearly stated all the failed communication efforts with him and delays in getting answers. I told him I was signing a listing agreement with another agent who would look out for our best interests. Then, within a week, we started getting calls and emails that there was mold developing on the ceiling and walls of the laundry room. I asked for them to send a plumber and they reported it was not a plumbing issue. So I sent my builder, who is not a plumber to check it out and see what was causing the leak. He was very busy but stopped by the house, the tenant told him that it was not a plumbing issue so he thought there was maybe a problem with the gutter on the roof and water ran down but he said he could not get to it until next week. The following week, we got a call again, the mold was worse and staining, so I insisted they get another plumber to open up the ceiling and find out where it is coming from. It turned out the master bath toilet, above and adjacent to the laundry was leaking. There was obvious damage you could see on the valve, woodwork and wall around the toilet in the pictures I was sent. I informed the property manager that this was negligence from the tenants and property managers. This should have been caught during the inspection and was not, they did not look themselves to see what might be causing the leak. Then the property manager blamed my builder, who never went up to the master bath because he was told twice that it was not a plumbing issue. The property manager then twisted his side of the story and said that his plumber was never there and that I said I would have my builder take a look. Two days later, we had another plumber meet us at the house and we all looked ourselves to see what was causing the leak and it was a loose toilet bolt. We terminated the property manager after that finding, but we cannot get the tenants to sign a needed form so we can show the property and list it. There is more unreported damage in the house we saw in passing through to the master bath, i.e., a broken window, bleach stains on the carpet in the living room, and we need to do another inspection ourselves to find out what else. The tenants said we cannot enter the property. We said we will with the police present on Friday. We don't know if a police officer will help us or not right now, we are not sure all the laws. We also have to see an attorney on Friday. We need advice on how best to handle this--can anyone give us some guidance on how to proceed???. These people are very difficult to deal with, lying to us, gave us a nasty letter stating they want their deposit back for compensation for our failure to maintain sanitary living conditions, etc. We don't have money to pay an attorney and these delays in getting the house sold are pushing us closer to foreclosure and bankruptcy. Any advice on how best to handle this and get them out of there without them destroying our house would be appreciated. The contract states we are allowed to do showings, but our new real estate agent says not without their consent and the house does not show well right now, so the tenants are in breach of the contract. These tenants are hiding and denying they did any damage to the house and we need to do an inspection asap to assess what and how much damage there is in the house and discuss it with the attorney. We know that if things are not listed on the move-in sheet (and I have a copy now of about 30 things listed from them) then we can assume it is new damage and they will have to take care of it or deduct from the deposit. We want to evict them but at the risk of more damage....any advice would be appreciated.