Tenant’s car damaged

15 Replies

Hello everyone I am a new investor in need of advice. A couple of months ago I bought my first house with the FHA loan. There were some repairs required by the FHA for closing but the previous owner refused the do them, so I did them myself, it was only painting some areas. Unfortunately the tenants cars were not far enough so the wind blew some paint over their cars. The previous owner didn't help at all and the house is now mine so it's the problem. The landords are demanding me to cover the damage (which I know I should do) but they are going to the most expensive auto body shop and are just giving me crazy expensive quotes. I live in NY by the way, any options for me? My lawyer is only telling me to pay them whatever the quote says because in his opinion if we go to court they win. What else can I do?

@Nelson Tamayo Carralero   you can ask them to get another quote. Not sure if your insurance will cover you.  Depending on the cost it might make the most sense to just pay for the damage but if this is latex paint on a car it should be removable and not need repainting.  They can have a shop do it but make sure you are covering only the damage you caused.  

Are these now your tenants? Could you work something out with them with the lease.  Maybe reduce their rent for a period of time to account for the cost of fixing the paint issue.  

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Thank you folks for you responses. The whole situation is twisted. The tenants moved out before closing, and this is actually the second quote they give me, high as well the difference is only $200. It wasn’t even latex but water paint which it’s pretty easy to remove from any surface I had some on my car from the same day and I was able to remove it easily. They said this is the last quote they get and they reserve the right to pick the shop. Before buying the house I changed insurance too, so I am not covered either. Life lesson: don’t even touch the house if it’s not yours yet.

As you said I don't think a body shop needs to be involved.  A good detailer should be able to get that off with compound or wet sanding.

I think a full detail for a car runs about $2-300 by me and I'm in NJ but it depends on where you are in NY.

As far as doing work on a house before you own it you shouldn't do that.  usually even for a closing they will give you 30-90 days to fix items.

I agree with the detailing. Let them know you require the vehicle to be professionally cleaned first. In some cities there are even detailers who will drive out to the car. Take before and after photos yourself for law suit purposes. Also depending on the age of the car it may be cheaper on you just to buy the car then resell it. For an older car, the damage could reduce the price less than the cost of repair. You don’t have to pay $5000 for a new paint job on a $3000 car.

I Always recommend doing repairs when a home is vacant to avoid situations like these. Have you recommended what you used to remove the paint off your car as an option?

Just get the vehicles detailed and make them happy. It shouldn't be more than $800 per vehicle. It's not a body shop paint repair. Detailers handle issues like that everyday, and the cars would look better than it before the accident. 

@Nelson Tamayo Carralero   all the  car guys in my family have said detailing it should take care of latex/water based paint paint.   They are quoting repaints at the body shop and that should not be needed.  I would push it if you are getting quotes over 1000. 

The tenants moved out before closing correct ?  They were never your tenants then . You were working on the house before you owned it . Tell them they have to deal with the previous landlord . 

I am a car guy , a good buff and wax will do .

Me , I would tell them verbally that here is 300 for a detail , or go pound sand . 

Thank so much @Colleen F.  the quote the tenants are giving me is for $2700 for the 2 cars, crazy!!! It’s pretty much repainting the whole cars and that’s what I am doing, pushing them to go to the car detailing but they state they legally have the rights to choose the place and go whatever they want, and are also demanding me to pay two rental cars while the auto body shop do the work. At this point I am getting ready to go to court, cause this people won’t stop until we get there.

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Originally posted by @Nelson Tamayo Carralero :

My lawyer is only telling me to pay them whatever the quote says because in his opinion if we go to court they win. What else can I do?

Them winning and them getting what they're asking for are two different things. 

If they refuse to go the detailing route, you can easily argue that the cars did not need to be repainted. Get a letter from an auto detailer noting that based on their professional experience, the type of paint you used should not require a car to be repainted and a professional detailing job would be able to remove any paint residue. The cost would be $250.

Most judges will understand that once you pay for the repainting, the car owners are just going to have them detailed and pocket the rest of the money.