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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
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Experience:  JA Mentor
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I have a rental unit (house) that I have had a neighbor manage

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I have a rental unit (house) that I have had a neighbor manage for the past two years. I asked her several times to have the tenants sign a new lease when I discovered it had lapsed a couple of months ago. She finally did so, but when I got the check for the month, she had deducted 1/2 of the rent for a "startup fee" plus her regular 8% commission. When I confronted her about it, she informed me she was quitting. I may have to pursue this in small claims, however; I live on the other side of the United States, so my trip to do so would be expensive. Can I either do small claims long distance or claim travel damages as well as the amounts that she took from me?

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

You should be able to file a Small Claims Court case by mail. You unfortunately cannot charge the other party for the costs of traveling to court unless you had a signed contract that allows it (which would be very unusual). You'll have to appear for the trial and won't have the ability to charge the other party for it.

What you may want to do is talk to your tax adviser about under what circumstances it might be possible to classify some portion of the travel expenses as expenses associated with the rental property.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
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