How to collect back rent from someone on social security

13 Replies

I've got an eviction going on a tenant for not paying rent. I just found out from my property manager that their income is really social security (yes I know I need a better property manager a they did not screen  very well) . My question is how can I collect from them - I don't think I can garnish their SS checks .

Originally posted by @Monty George :

I've got an eviction going on a tenant for not paying rent. I just found out from my property manager that their income is really social security (yes I know I need a better property manager a they did not screen  very well) . My question is how can I collect from them - I don't think I can garnish their SS checks .

 Their SS income is judgment proof - but only that income is.  Do they have any other income?  Savings accounts?

Would it be worth it to just agree with them to move out and leave the place clean and empty and undamaged - and you call it even and keep their security deposit?  Just to get them out?  They may go for that.  It's always worked for me.  I only had to kick out a few tenants over 8 years of managing, but they all moved out and left the place empty and relatively damage-free, by negotiating to let them out and call it even.

If you feel the need to try and collect from them, you could try hiring a collection agency.  If they care about their credit, you could go that route.  You don't even need a judgment according to these guys (I've never used one myself), and they have an option where you can just pay a flat fee of less than $20 for one collection letter and they then report the debt to all three bureaus.  They have more options up to paying them a percentage to aggressively attempt to collect

http://www.rentrecoveryservice.com/

I just googled "landlord collection agency."  A bunch popped up.

I'd start by negotiating to just get them out, and if no luck then have them evicted through the court process and use a collection agency to try to collect.

And by the way, tenants on SS aren't normally a problem.  If they passed screening otherwise, I wouldn't have expected the problem.

Wonder why they aren't using their guaranteed income to pay the rent.  That's weird.

@Monty George - blood from a turnip - right?

I've been in your shoes. I feel for you.

Cut your looses quick  - and count the loss toward your education.

I'm curious why a tenant being on SS is a bad thing, if they can meet all your other requirements.

I agree Bob.  You have to be careful about discrimination issues here.  If they are on SSDI.  Or are they retired?  I don't think a landlord can just say we don't rent to people on social security, because that is essentially saying, we don't rent to people with disability.  

A tenant on Social security is not a bad thing- until they stop paying. Then is harder to collect from them because SS can't be garnished - 

SS payments can't be garnished, but, if they have them deposited in a bank, that account can be IF they have comingled funds with any other money on deposits, they bank will know and likely abide by any judgment presented.

Generally, those on SS are good tenants and better not discriminate against their source of qualifying income. Good luck :)

Originally posted by @Sue K. :
Originally posted by @Monty George:

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Wonder why they aren't using their guaranteed income to pay the rent.  That's weird.

Sometimes it's because they are still financially supporting their 35+ year old "adult" children ...

Originally posted by @Steve Babiak :
Originally posted by @Sue Kelly:
Originally posted by @Monty George:

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Wonder why they aren't using their guaranteed income to pay the rent.  That's weird.

Sometimes it's because they are still financially supporting their 35+ year old "adult" children ...

Who doesn't dare work because it will ruin there chances to also get on SSDI!

 Steve I added the line you left out.

The best loss, is the quick loss...

Dont waste your time.

The OP is questing someone on Social Security, not SSI.

There are 62 million people collecting social security.  By refusing to rent to one of them you are missing a large part of the rental market.  I rent to them if they have a good credit and a good rental history as long as they meet income requirements.  At least they won't get fired or laid off.

Bob B makes a good point.

The concern about not being able to garnish Social Security wages seems rather moot to begin with.  Even if one is in a state where bank garnishment is allowed, a landlord would need to know not only the former tenants bank but their account and routing number in order to continue with the request for garnishment.

This information is, of course, on every check a tenant may provide.  It would be useful for a landlord to note this information in the tenants file should it become necessary to use it in the future.  Of course this doesn't mean when the time comes the tenant will have a penny left in their account.  It also isn't helpful for those tenants who pay rent with cash or money orders.

I did do bank garnishment on my very first tenants who skipped out and took all the "valuable" stuff (silk flowers) but left unimportant things such as bank statements behind.  Unfortunately, these statements belonged to one who was receiving social security on a dead husband.   I did receive some funds but just enough to cover my court filing costs.

Gail

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