Property damaged by law enforcement? Who’s responsible?

GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT)- With any rental property damages are inevitable. From scuffs on the wall, to carpet stains, things happen, but who is responsible?

Property manager, Rocky Russell, says, “we can charge for things we consider to be damages like holes in the wall, torn carpets, kool aid stains in carpet, missing doors.”

Russell says the North Carolina Real Estate Commission does not allow owners to charge tenants for “ordinary wear and tear.” The definition of wear and tear is decided on a case by case basis.

“An example of ordinary wear and tear would be scuffs on the walls,” Russell said.

If law enforcement causes damages due to criminal activity on the the property, things can get even more complicated.

“In scenarios like last week where the whole drug task force had to go through a residence, there was a lot of drugs, a lot of criminal activity found to be going on there,” Assistant District Attorney, Caroline Lawler said. “Then it would kind of be up to the people that were occupying it or committing the criminal activity to reimburse for that damage.”

Lawler says when law enforcement is involved, the responsibility for the damages differ in each situation.

“In some cases where there is kind of an innocent property owner, there’s statues that provide procedures for either the owner or the lean holder to go about getting reimbursed,” Lawler said.

Whatever the circumstances, Russell says property damage is something he deals with on a daily basis.

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