Landlording & Rental Properties

One Creative Method for Getting Paid what Money You’re Owed

193 Articles Written

I’ve got a favor to ask you. I need to borrow $25,000. We’ll fill out a contract and make everything legal. But when it’s time for me to repay the $25,000 I’m pretty much going to laugh in your face and not pay your money back. What are you going to do?

Want more articles like this?

Create an account today to get BiggerPocket's best blog articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up for free

Well, unless you’ve been in that position, you have no idea how infuriating it can be. It’s happened to me before, for that amount of money, and I ended up getting paid back after a series of “threats”.

I’ll explain these threats in a moment.

Recently, this happened to me again. I had a tenant who had been with me for years and was seemingly perfect. Then one day he just up and left, leaving me bills for cleaning up the place and also lost rent. Well, I still had the tenants contact information and I knew he had an important job in the area. So what did I do?

First, I gave him a chance to do the right thing. I was polite and told him the amount of money he owed me and I even offered him a payment plan over the next 12 months. He agreed to a payment plan, signed the new agreement and assured me the check would be in the mail on the 1st of every month.

But we know what happened. It never came and he constantly lied to me and said the check was in the mail. I gave him a few more chances to be honest with me and pay up, but after one time too many, I resorted to the “press release.”

As I mentioned earlier, this tenant had an important, well-known job in the town where my house is.

So I had a friend of mine who’s in PR, create a beautiful press release about my “deadbeat tenant who was stealing from his landlord and refused to pay the rent.”

I emailed the press release to the tenant and told him that if I didn’t have a check in my mailbox by 5:00pm on Wednesday, the press release was going out to the local newspaper, to his boss (I had his bosses email address) and to other media.

Let’s just say within a few hours I had the tenant calling me begging me not to send out the press release and promising me the check would be there.

It was, and I’ve never had a problem since.

And yes, I would have definitely sent out the press release had the check not arrived. I have no sympathy for people I try and help who lie to me and are dishonest.

Also, if you’re wondering about the legality of this, it’s 100% legal as long as what you say is true. (I ran the press release by a lawyer and a judge who I know).

Now, you may be reading this thinking I’m mean, or I crossed the line. I can only laugh if you think that, because you’ve obviously never had someone blatantly rip you off.

Because when someone is completely dishonest there is nothing I won’t legally do to get my money back. Call me old fashioned, but when someone makes a contract with me, I expect them to honor it.

So instead of going to court and dealing with all that hassle, you could always send out a press release the next time you need to “encourage” someone to do the right thing.

Photo: Robert S. Donovan

    Liz Benitez
    Replied about 9 years ago
    I love this Idea. My mother had an experience just the opposite as yours. She was the tenant with a crappy management company. At the end of her lease I helped her clean the house so I know it was done well. When the time came to get her security deposit back the Management company not only refused but backed the owner up in trying to charge her an additional $2000.00 for not only repairs of existing damage (was noted on the pre-occupancy walk-through) but also for the supplies to fix the work, like a hammer, a step ladder, duck-tape. We sent them a letter contesting every little charge and requested the security deposit back. We were ignored, after repeatedly leaving messages with no response my mom let the matter drop. The company did not pursue the additional funds they tried to bill her. I wonder how fast this management company would jumped to assist us if we threatened to put out a press release.
    Replied about 9 years ago
    That was such a great post. Just goes to show you that with the right motivation and creativity you can always find an answer to a seemingly annoying problem!
    Shae Bynes
    Replied about 9 years ago
    One word Jason….brilliant! 🙂
    Ryan Moeller
    Replied about 9 years ago
    Jason, This article is absolutely amazing. You press release method is brilliant on many levels. First, you are just treating someone as they have treated you, actually better as you are telling the truth to someone who lied and deceived you. It is not a method most people would use, which is the 2nd reason why I find it brilliant as you where creative and willing to do something that eventhough everyone else wouldn’t. Most people are followers and will only do what everyone else does, you have balls. 3rd, you did your research on the tenant, his boss and confirmed it is 100% legal. A very effective solution that took creativity, balls and research. Well done!