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No Copy of Rental Agreement also tenants ruined our house!!!

Hi!    We have a rental unit located in a different state from us.  1,000's of miles away that we have been renting out for over 7 years to the same people.  When the rental agreement was written up we had employed a property manager for the job.  Since then he has passed away and unfortunately we never received a copy of the rental agreement.  The renters have not been able to present us with a copy either.  We have had many situations where things have been broken, carpets destroyed, etc. and have paid a lot of money to keep the place in a proper condition to pass health inspections.  The next health inspection is coming up within 2 weeks and we are fearful that there will be more repairs then we can afford.    I guess I have three questions:  1)  What if any problems can arise without the original rental agreement? 2)  If there are too many repairs to be done how much notice do we have to give the tenants that we are ready to sell the house on a as-is basis? 3)  Is there a proper way to inform the tenant that if they point out every single problem they have with the house (they have done this in the past to the point where they obviously had intentionally caused damage so that we would have to repair and replace all sorts of things with new equipment to pass the inspection.  These things that were pointed out  were fine and had passed all inspections until they as I said intentionally caused damage enough where we were spending thousands of dollars making repairs, we will have no choice but to sell the house as soon as possible due to not having the money to repair the damages they caused?  Don't get me wrong, we have never raised their rent and are right on top of anything that needs to be taken care of.  But there comes a time when enough is enough and we feel since they completely trashed our house which had been newly renovated at the time they moved in to the point where they are living in complete filth now it seems they can just live in their filth until there comes that time when it is completely unlivable and not worth spending more money on it when they will just turn around and not respect it again.  In other words can we somehow inform them legally that they need to not complain too much or they will have to move out so that we can sell it as-is.  We have done so much work on the place that we are losing money through paying the property taxes, insurance and keeping it up to standards and passing inspections.  If we were to sell it as it is now we would probably not get much for it since they have torn the carpets out due to water fights, ripped hinges and electrical outlets out of the walls, etc. besides letting numerous animals they may have had or have defecate and urinate to the point where are handyman gets nauseated when having to make repairs, etc.  I do not want to raise their rent because I am fearful of them moving out right at this moment because of knowing the way house sales are not going well (we have another property that has been on the market in the same town for over a year and haven't had one offer even though we lowered the price $15,000).  I would rather have them live there as long as possible until we can get this other house sold and then we can work on doing whatever it takes to get the house they are at sold.  I'd appreciate any input.  Sorry if this is all confusing.  I didn't know quite how to word it all.  Thank you.

I can respond by saying to make sure that you get a copy of the lease or insist on signing a new one since the property manager is not actively part of the picture any longer.  Second make sure that the property is in living condition. If it is not safe and a danger to health you will have to release the tenants from the lease. You can switch them to a new unit as you say that you have and if they are good tenants you should be able to come to an agreement. Again get everything on paper. and Good Luck
Hi!  Thank you for your response Richard W. from PA.  Unfortuntely there is no copy to be found of the lease.  We have a health inspector coming out to do his inspections the middle of this month and unfortunetly I have a feeling that he will tell us the place is in need of repairing more than we can afford.  The tenants just don't seem to care that they have destroyed a really beautiful house that our property manager (who is now deceased) had rented to them years ago.  It is absolutely disgusting with the urine smells, drawings on the walls, holes in the walls, kitchen counter smashed several places, rugs torn out, etc.  It is just not worth spending all of the money it will take to repair it.  So we have decided to just sell it as is and hope for the best.  We have always been very fair to all of our tenants and sometimes it seems we get taken advantage of due to our fairness.  We explained the situation to the tenants and they said they have been wanting to move out and get a larger place.  So that is that.  It is really sad because it was such a wonderful house.  I don't get it.  We are renting ourselves a townhouse and keep it as clean as if it were our own to keep forever.  We respect other people's property and wish we could find tenants that do the same.  Very hard to do that.  Thank you again for your help.  Wish us luck.  We will need it this time.
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