12 OYS: Evicted tenants seek revenge, destroy property says landlord

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / October 22, 2013


"Why would anybody want to do this? Why would anybody want to mess up property like this," says Diana Ryan.

At a quick glance you could easily mistake her rental property for a landfill instead of a place you would call home. "They came and got what they wanted and then they just destroyed the yard and everything with what they left behind," says Ryan.

Last month she filed eviction papers against the couple who lived in the mobile home, because they were three months behind on rent. She says the tenants sought revenge by trashing the place.

"The next day I came out they had broken that window and climbed back in," says Ryan. On the outside broken televisions, smashed furniture, pots and pans, baby clothes and even glass from a shattered window litter the ground.

"She told us to my face that she was going to do this and there was nothing I could do about it because the law was not going to make her do anything about it," says Ryan.

She filed a complaint with the Edgefield County Sheriff's Office after discovering the damage but she says it did little good. "The judge would not sign a warrant for them or make them clean it up and that it was a civil matter.

According to South Carolina law, a tenant shall not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, or damage a property. News 12 asked Ryan if she planned to file a lawsuit seeking monetary restitution.

"What good is a judgment, they don't pay the money so what good is it." says Ryan. Better than a judgment she would like to see the pair clean up the mess. "This is their trash, their belongings and they should be made to remove this off of my property," says Ryan.

But at the end of the day who is going to clean it up? "Uhmmm, I will or hire somebody to do it," says Ryan. She says it could cost as much as $1500 to clean up the mess.

So what legal recourse does she or any landlord have in cases like this?

Because it is a civil matter, a landlord could pursue a judgment in civil court but if they win it could take a long time or never before they see a dime.

Also a property owner could file a claim with their insurance company if the damage is extensive.