Eviction & court ordered default judgment

5 Replies

About a year ago I had to do an eviction on one of my properties here in Southern Indiana, the judge issued a default judgement against this couple and in my favor of $5,400. At the time I was just happy to get these deadbeats out of my property. Since some time has past and things have settled out a bit, I've been thinking maybe it's time to pursue this and see if I can collect all or part of this. I'm sure they still live in the area, but I'm not sure where. Anybody had any success in this situation? How did you go about it? Did you use a collection agency?

In 20+ years I've only had 2 balance due departures, never even got to first base attempting to collect on either. Realistically most anyone that stiffs you on the way out has probably either declared bankruptcy or gone underground to avoid dealing with past creditors. I recall my PM went out on one of mine to clean out the tenants mail box (one of those giant barn mail boxes) he said it was literally exploding with well over a hundred past due bills. So if they can't pay the rent, you will likely be standing in a very long line of creditors with not much hope of collection from someone who's reputation is already been totally trashed, what incentive do they really have to pay?

@Larry Ott   I had to chase a tenant for real estate commission owed.  I ended up going to small claims court where after the bum failed to show for 3 hearings, I was awarded a default judgement.  Mind you, this was in Massachusetts so your state could be different.

The Magistrate asked whether I wanted an "execution" or a "capias" or both. 

The execution meant that I could hire a constable of sheriff to seize assets like a bank account, car, etc and sell them to satisfy the amount owed.

The capias was a lot more interesting.  It's a civil arrest warrant.  I could hire a constable or sheriff to arrest the bum or his wife (both were debtors) and have them brought to court to face a judge. 

My strategy was to tel the bum that I would have the sheriff arrest his wife at work.  That threat worked.  The bum coughed up the amount owed very quickly.

BTW - in Massachusetts, unpaid judgments are subject to 12% interest per year. Not a bad ROI!

Thanks for the replies, some interesting thoughts. 

Charlie MacPherson, I will check into the Indiana laws on judgements. Some days I feel like just writing it off, why waste your time, other days I hate to see the deadbeat walk away scot free.

Thanks for the input!