Landlord - Tenant Expert Witness Advises On Burglary
Landlord/tenant expert witness Robert Griswold offers this advice to a landlord whose property was burglarized:
Most property management companies have contract language that will indemnify them from liability for third-party criminal acts such as what appears to have happened at your rental property. So, unfortunately, you are not likely to have much success in seeking recourse against the property management company unless it was involved in the illegal activity...
Your experience is one of the reasons why I strongly advise real estate investors not to invest in income properties that are more than one hour away by car unless the property is in a location they routinely visit on business or where they have trusted family or friends.
Hiring a competent property manager is important even in your own area, but it's critical when you invest long-distance. I would ask you to consider lowering your asking rental rate until you find a qualified renter, as a vacant unit is only slightly better than one occupied by a deadbeat tenant. Never accept an unqualified renter, and remember that a good renter, even at a below-market rental rate, is better than a vacant rental unit earning no income and, in your case, suffering significant damage.
For more, see Griswold Real Estate Management.