Small claims court after eviction

9 Replies

Once I got them evicted I noticed they did all sorts of damage.  Should I take them to court? i don't really expect to ever see my money.  I kind of worry that they may even try to do more damage to the property late at night while another tenant has moved in.

Also when I do get the court rule.  What is best way to keep the pressure on them to increase possibility of payment?

We have tried all different types of ways, the end of the day you have a tenant that you evicted and they live for the most part month to month, the odds of them having any money as opposed to the amount of time it will cost you to go after them normally is more of a loss to you. 

We do two things, 1 we select better tenants that we feel will not end in this scenario which seems to help alot with this along with them keeping the property nice and paying their rent. We went from a 30% eviction rate with 35 homes I owned to less then 2% eviction rate with over 450 homes we manage now. 90% of that is due to being very strict and selective on the inbound side.

Now I know none of this helps you right now. When we evict the tenant we send them to a debt collector, they go after them and get 50% of what they collect. Statistics are low on who they collect from but if they ever want to buy something like a car or house or finance anything or rent it will show up. We have had tenants come back and pay to get it removed off their credit but that is the minority.

The best thing is the collection agency does it all and you dont have to do anything. 

yes the collection agency is what I was thinking about.   Do I not have to go thru small claims first?

Originally posted by @Brian Johnson :

yes the collection agency is what I was thinking about.   Do I not have to go thru small claims first?

For damage after the fact, I think you should go to small claims court first, to get a court ordered amount that they owe you.  

If it was just rent, which is easily quantifiable, it would be a different thing, in my opinion, because you can easily show that amount of rent was owed to you, and they didn't pay it.  But, damages seems too subjective to me.  Of course, you could always just call up one of the landlord collection agencies and ask.

But, another reason to go to court, is that once you get a judgment, it's on their credit reports for 10 years, and is usually renewable for another 10.  That gives you a lot more time to try and collect it.

Small claims court usually costs only $100 or less.  I'd go to court and get a judgment, then turn it over to a collection agency.

Good luck :-)

Better change those locks asap

Yes I already changed the locks and I don't really expect to ever see my money.  Just the principal of it all.  Someone does me wrong I want to make it perhaps harder for them in life.

Brian it's just business and do not take it personal.

You are emotionally invested to get back at them. It happens to most of us in the beginning when starting out as an investor.

When changing locks if this is a house make sure not just the front door but also the sides and backs doors as well.

Most landlords just do a set it and forget it if they get the judgment. At some point maybe the past tenants want to fix credit and will offer a settlement. If their credit is bad a collection company will not really do anything. The past tenants is worrying about a place to live and put food in their belly and not make you whole as a past landlord financially.

You could get a judgment company after you have obtained a judgment in court to try and enforce it. The judgment company will determine if your tenant is judgment proof or not and if odds are good to collect they might offer you 50/50 split and pay court costs to wage garnish or levy bank accounts etc. It takes years to get the money rolling in and at anytime the debtor could file BK and wipe out the judgment. It's a real grind so you want to be in the investing business and not a bad debt collector. Let someone else do that on your behalf. You could have an attorney write a scare letter to try and extract what little money the previous tenant has now to settle it. Using an ongoing attorney doesn't make sense and the charges will almost be what the judgment is in the end.

No legal advice given.         

Thanks for everyone's advice.  This bad deal just hit me harder than normal.  I guess because they made it known they were going to do damage.  It seems like I need to brush it off as a learning lesson and move on.  

Hi Brian, check out pre-paid legal. I was with them years ago and it may be an option. (And, NO I not trying to push the product)

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