Hi, I am a landlord and I leased a house to a young woman with one child in August 2013. At some point during her tenure, she moved her parolled boyfriend in and never disclosed this, in violation of the lease. In August of 2015, tenant contacted me to inform me there was a leak in kitchen ceiling, claiming it had just occurred, however, upon arrival, the shattered remains of the old cast iron sewer stack were on the porch with demolition debris, and inside my plumber and I found that tenant, at some point, attempted a hack repair to the stack pipe, and massive water damage through the kitchen down to the finished basement, which was full of mold and completely destroyed, along with the electrical
system, the furnace, and bathroom above, where all fixtures
were clogged and tiles missing from shower, as well as other random vandalism throughout house. Total renovation costs are estimated at $62K. The homeowner
's policy, with Travelers, refused to pay, stating water damage more than 14 days old, and I am now left with trying to recover from the tenant, a single mom whose ex-con boyfriend is now back in jail, as he was dealing crack, which we found in the house, and police are saying I have no grounds for a criminal complaint against her, as it is a landlord tenant matter.
First question is have you ever seen anyone take on an insurance company around a water damage claim over 14 days and win? Tenant claims she repaired the stack (without my knowledge or permission) within a week of discovering it was leaking about a month before the secondary leak occurred, which she claims she reported to me asap. It appears that second leak turned out to be due to the stack being clogged, due to the faulty work.
Since there was evidence of vandalism throughout the house--holes in the walls, writing on walls, kicked in doors, ripped out alarm system, ripped out railings, I envision a scenario where the boyfriend trashed the house (it appears she stopped living there for several weeks at some point, according to neighbors
) and the stack and water damage could easily have been intentionally done, with her coming in and trying to repair it after he vacated back to jail.
She is not cooperating and refused to discuss details with me or insurance investigators.
Is suing her for damages
my only recourse? She has no money, of course, but does have a job. Can I have her wages garnished in PA?
What else can I do to try to get the insurance company to pay?