Rented property not ready for tenants – tenants refund was denied
Property rented for $2,000 for one week via on-line viewing and mail sight unseen from real estate company. Property rented for 9 people from CA. Tenants, owners are from CA. Property in South Dakota. Tenants notified real estate company of expected arrival time. Property found unsanitary, notified RE company. RE agent came to property, agreed with unsanitary conditions. Tenants took video tape of dead bugs on bedding. RE agent indicated that didn’t have the owners permission to hire cleaning person. Tenants left property and rented motels rooms for 5 days 40 miles away. Tenants met with RE agent next day and asked for refund. RE agent contacted owner in CA who refused to give refund. Owner refused to speak to tenants. RE agent wrote letter and gave to tenant explaining unsanitary conditions and said she ”assumed the property weould be ready for tenants”. RE company advertised property for rent while our rental agreement was still in effect.
Do we have a case for small claims court? What are our chances of winning? Do we have to file in South Dakota or can we file in CA? Do we have to go to South Dakota for the court date?