How can I get my rent payment?

35 Replies

The lease signed for one year, and it is going to expire in March, 2. The tenants due is $$2745. The deposit is $2000. If the tenant did not pay the electric and water bill, me- the landlord is responsible for the due  with township ,which could be another $400. Also, if the tenant damaged my property or appliances, will be more loss. 

Acoording to PA law, If I file the eviction now, it takes 2 weeks for the hearing, and another 21 days for them to move out. so by the time , they already moved out. so I do not think eviction will work except there is eviction report will stay on their rental history. 

I have been a landlord for 5 years, and this is first time that I have to deal with. Please advise me what is the best that I can do to get my rent money. I already take photos of their cars, and I know where is the woman works.  There is co-signer , I know where she rented a house.

Thanks in advance!

The reality?  You probably won't.  You can turn the debt over to a collection agency and let them go after her.  Or file in small claims court to get a judgement and make the collection agency's case stronger.

Jon Holdman, Flying Phoenix LLC

I am going through similar situation, I am told by my PM that the placement agency we used takes the onus of collecting the due rent if someone leaves before the lease term expires. So they will garnish the wages from the renters. It is a long drawn process I am told. I will be interested in knowing what others have done in such situations to collect the owed rent.

Himanshu Jain MBA, investwithhimanshu.com | [email protected] | Podcast Guest on Show #118

Originally posted by @Jon Holdman :

The reality?  You probably won't.  You can turn the debt over to a collection agency and let them go after her.  Or file in small claims court to get a judgement and make the collection agency's case stronger.

 Thanks for the advise. I guess I should go to small claims court. 

If they haven't paid January rent, I would see how soon I get them to move out.  It might be worth even giving them a little bit of money(once they are out of the place and it is in reasonably good condition).

The alternative seems to be them being there for 6 weeks(at least) and not getting any more money from them.

Obtaining Unpaid Rent Through an Eviction Lawsuit

In the lawsuit, the landlord typically asks for possession of the rental (an order from the judge, telling the tenant to move), plus a judgment for unpaid rent. If there’s a security deposit, the landlord can use this to cover the rent, but doesn’t have to. Instead, the landlord can treat the judgment for back rent just like any other judgment in any civil suit: If the defendant-tenant doesn’t pay it, the plaintiff-landlord can go after assets, such as bank accounts and wages.

Garnishing wages thus requires a court judgment, and it also requires a court order to the employer, directing the employer to withhold an amount of money from each paycheck, and send it to local law enforcement, who will see that it’s paid to the plaintiff. Individuals can’t garnish wages on their own. They must go through the courts, obtain a judgment, and obtain a garnishment order after that.

(I found this article on line just to make sure I was correct in my analysis.  I have had fellow landlord friends in my county who did garnish their wages, but wanted to double check before posting this article.

If you can't collect back rents, you can write it off (expense account) in QuickBooks

Nancy Neville

You are assuming the tenant is leaving March 2nd because the lease expires. What if they don't?

Start the eviction process now. Being served with notices and paperwork is a great motivator. It's unlikely you see your money, but you'll have the wheels in motion (if not a judgment in hand) by March 2nd.

Originally posted by @Jesse T. :

If they haven't paid January rent, I would see how soon I get them to move out.  It might be worth even giving them a little bit of money(once they are out of the place and it is in reasonably good condition).

The alternative seems to be them being there for 6 weeks(at least) and not getting any more money from them.

 In a year of lease, they have been  paid on time only for three months, and they have been late for payment  every month since July 2014. They begged me,  and I did not want to file the eviction because they are young couples  with two little kids. I never charged them any late fee. they both have full time job. Now they  screwed me  back.  

My PM company sends these to collection and the collection company grosses up the amount due from the tenant so I get all that is due to me and the collection company gets all that is due to them. If they have a viable job then we go collection and they always pay. We don't rent to folks without a solid work history so this rarely happens. Guess we've been lucky.

Originally posted by @Rose Feng :
Originally posted by @Jesse T.:

If they haven't paid January rent, I would see how soon I get them to move out.  It might be worth even giving them a little bit of money(once they are out of the place and it is in reasonably good condition).

The alternative seems to be them being there for 6 weeks(at least) and not getting any more money from them.

 In a year of lease, they have been  paid on time only for three months, and they have been late for payment  every month since July 2014. They begged me,  and I did not want to file the eviction because they are young couples  with two little kids. I never charged them any late fee. they both have full time job. Now they  screwed me  back.  

 It seems like they should have options.  It looks like rent is too far down on their priority list.  

I would ask them when they can move out.  My target would be to get them out in a week or two.

It might mean you lose the possibility of getting January's back rent, but you should be able to get a tenant that pays on time for March and possibly even part of February.

I would lay out their options - move out in a timely manner or get evicted.  They should be able to find a decent affordable option.  However they get evicted, they will have fewer options and may be forced to live in a motel.

The best thing for the kids would be for the parents to do what it takes to provide a stable home for them.  Paying rent on time is part of what is required.  If you are a little bit tough with them, maybe it will be a lesson.  If you aren't they will keep doing this and bouncing from place to place.

Originally posted by @Account Closed :

Obtaining Unpaid Rent Through an Eviction Lawsuit

In the lawsuit, the landlord typically asks for possession of the rental (an order from the judge, telling the tenant to move), plus a judgment for unpaid rent. If there’s a security deposit, the landlord can use this to cover the rent, but doesn’t have to. Instead, the landlord can treat the judgment for back rent just like any other judgment in any civil suit: If the defendant-tenant doesn’t pay it, the plaintiff-landlord can go after assets, such as bank accounts and wages.

Garnishing wages thus requires a court judgment, and it also requires a court order to the employer, directing the employer to withhold an amount of money from each paycheck, and send it to local law enforcement, who will see that it’s paid to the plaintiff. Individuals can’t garnish wages on their own. They must go through the courts, obtain a judgment, and obtain a garnishment order after that.

(I found this article on line just to make sure I was correct in my analysis.  I have had fellow landlord friends in my county who did garnish their wages, but wanted to double check before posting this article.

If you can't collect back rents, you can write it off (expense account) in QuickBooks

Nancy Neville

 Thank you so much Nancy for taking your time to wrote. Now I have some hope. lol

It is so true for the sayings: if you give your tenant once inch, they want a mail; if you give them one mile, they want ten. 

Originally posted by @Tom C. :

My PM company sends these to collection and the collection company grosses up the amount due from the tenant so I get all that is due to me and the collection company gets all that is due to them. If they have a viable job then we go collection and they always pay. We don't rent to folks without a solid work history so this rarely happens. Guess we've been lucky.

 Hi Tom. Lucky you! Would you please give me the name of collection agency? 

Now I am going to do both. file the eviction first , and late contact collection agency. Thanks!

Originally posted by @Jesse T. :
Originally posted by @Rose Feng:
Originally posted by @Jesse T.:

If they haven't paid January rent, I would see how soon I get them to move out.  It might be worth even giving them a little bit of money(once they are out of the place and it is in reasonably good condition).

The alternative seems to be them being there for 6 weeks(at least) and not getting any more money from them.

 In a year of lease, they have been  paid on time only for three months, and they have been late for payment  every month since July 2014. They begged me,  and I did not want to file the eviction because they are young couples  with two little kids. I never charged them any late fee. they both have full time job. Now they  screwed me  back.  

 It seems like they should have options.  It looks like rent is too far down on their priority list.  

I would ask them when they can move out.  My target would be to get them out in a week or two.

It might mean you lose the possibility of getting January's back rent, but you should be able to get a tenant that pays on time for March and possibly even part of February.

I would lay out their options - move out in a timely manner or get evicted.  They should be able to find a decent affordable option.  However they get evicted, they will have fewer options and may be forced to live in a motel.

The best thing for the kids would be for the parents to do what it takes to provide a stable home for them.  Paying rent on time is part of what is required.  If you are a little bit tough with them, maybe it will be a lesson.  If you aren't they will keep doing this and bouncing from place to place.

 Hi Jessy, 

I did communicate with them many many times via text messages. They promised to pay me back but I do not believe them because they never kept their words in the past. 

I am a single mother with a tender heart.  I wanted to give people second chance.   This is the reason that i did not evict them although they have been late payment for 7 months. 

I believe they find a new place because they knew I would not renew the lease. That is their money go for the deposit for their new place. 

Originally posted by @Mike M. :

You are assuming the tenant is leaving March 2nd because the lease expires. What if they don't?

Start the eviction process now. Being served with notices and paperwork is a great motivator. It's unlikely you see your money, but you'll have the wheels in motion (if not a judgment in hand) by March 2nd.

 Mike, 

You are so right. File the eviction to give them lesson is only way to go. Thanks !

@Rose Feng

I will call my management company and ask who they use and PM you. They could be local to my state, though, and not work outside this area.

Make sure that you name and serve the co-signer for any legal actions you take; that gives you another party to pursue for payment via the legal system.   And sometimes the co-signer will pay when faced with legal action. 

If you post a notice to quit they will probably leave, especially if they already have another place lined up.  I would try that first, even if your lease waives the notice.  You can still follow up through with the courts if you think you will be able to collect.

Originally posted by @Rick C. :

If you post a notice to quit they will probably leave, especially if they already have another place lined up.  I would try that first, even if your lease waives the notice.  You can still follow up through with the courts if you think you will be able to collect.

 Updated: I did post to notice to quit, and called the co-signer with voice mail to threaten to bring her to the court. 

Thanks for everyone is being so helpful to offer advice and suggestions here. 

This morning, I got three checks that dated 1/30,2/16, 2/28. They texted me saying just cash the checks. But, those checks are not guaranteed. They could be insufficient, and they can stop checks or close the account.  so , is any way that I can ask them to do to make the checks guaranteed ? 

if i had been taking checks from them all along i would cash the checks without delay.  If they are tight on cash the money might not be there if you wait. 

If the checks do bounce, follow through with the eviction, unless they give money orders for all due including nsf fees.

Don't dismiss the power of a garnishment or judgment. And a pox on all those landlords who say "don't bother with court-you won't collect"! Its still the best way to collectively notify the world of a deadbeat. You have the best weapon in the world to collect-you know where the person works! But you have to have a judgement in order to collect. In Georgia it's fairly easy to file a garnishment-one caveat is to make sure you serve it to the right entity. For example, if they work at "Joes Restaurant" at 123 Main St, and you have it served there, but the corporate entity Is "Joes Inc." at another address, they can have it quashed. A simple check of the states DBA or corporate filings will tell you the correct entity. As a bonus-if the employer does not answer or garnish-they owe the tab, and can dun the employee-I just collected my judgment amount IN FULL from the employer!

Originally posted by @Rick C. :

if i had been taking checks from them all along i would cash the checks without delay.  If they are tight on cash the money might not be there if you wait. 

If the checks do bounce, follow through with the eviction, unless they give money orders for all due including nsf fees.

 The checks date on 1/30, 2/16, 2/18 . They are not be cashed now. That is why I can not rely on those unavailable checks.  

Originally posted by @Matt Sicignano :

Don't dismiss the power of a garnishment or judgment. And a pox on all those landlords who say "don't bother with court-you won't collect"! Its still the best way to collectively notify the world of a deadbeat. You have the best weapon in the world to collect-you know where the person works! But you have to have a judgement in order to collect. In Georgia it's fairly easy to file a garnishment-one caveat is to make sure you serve it to the right entity. For example, if they work at "Joes Restaurant" at 123 Main St, and you have it served there, but the corporate entity Is "Joes Inc." at another address, they can have it quashed. A simple check of the states DBA or corporate filings will tell you the correct entity. As a bonus-if the employer does not answer or garnish-they owe the tab, and can dun the employee-I just collected my judgment amount IN FULL from the employer!

 Now I feel much better after read your post. They tried to call me and text me and fool me that they will pay with those date on Feb checks. I do not buy it. Tomorrow I am going to file the eviction- like you said the legal power.  Thank you so much Matt!

i didn't catch that they were post dated checks....doesn't really leave you any choice but to move forward with eviction.   

This maybe considered by others as odd advice but, I worked with a property management company for a long period of time. Before or while you go to court and file for the judgement ( which you absolutely need to do). Remember your goal is to collect as much money as you can from the tenant to cover your costs of doing business regardless if ultimately the tenant/landlord relationship goes bad and they are evicted. Continue to contact the tenant on a regular bases and draw them into dialogue about why they are not paying and how if in any way you can be of help or service to them.  Appeal to them as a single parent. That's what property management companies do, they constantly try to recover whatever money they can by being humble, persistent, and appealing to tenant.