How to get my ex tennant to pay the damages?

9 Replies

I have a tenant who just moved out. I did a walk thru inspection with them but it was brief because she was on a break from work. I told her it looked alright except for a few things but I would send her the final statement as soon as I could. After she left I realized that the damages were more than I expected. She neglected the A/C unit completely even after my repeated attempts to have a professional contact her to schedule service. The costs for overall repairs equaled to almost four times her deposit. In our rental lease agreement she agreed to pay for the damages owed when she moved out if they were greater than the deposit. Now, though, she is saying that we owe her her deposit and that she doesn't plan on paying the detailed invoice I sent her. How can I recover my expenses from her??

Have you sent an itemized accounting of the security deposit and your costs?   Are your  expenses actual expenses or estimates?  Are any of the items wear and tear?  For instance, judges here will disallow any charges for carpet over three years old.  What are the expenses you're trying to charge her?

All that said, the likelihood of ever collecting a dime are slim.  Assuming you have good documentation and valid expenses that would stand up in court, hand the bill over to a debt collector and let them chase her.  You can take her to small claims court, but that has the same problem.  At best you'll get a judgment.  You still have to collect.

Ya, I did send an itemized invoice with actual costs, not estimates. I sent it after all the repairs were completed and I had actual numbers to list. I am charging for repainting the walls that were awefully dirty (no way to just wipe them down), changing out broken shades, repairing holes (which includes repainting them) changing out door handles with new keys, broken fixtures, cleaning, labor & supplies, and the major repair was the A/C.She had two dogs that just left hair in just about every crevice. I charged a 250 non refundable pet deposit and that wasn't even enough to cover the hair clogged A/C which put me at almost 800! Her deposit didn't even cover that. I figured that the A/C maintenance is my responsibility since I own my units, so I tried multiple times to have someone call andschedule a time to service the unit. But she always had some excuse as to why she couldn't let someone in. And she neglected the care of it. So when it came time to do the repairs, I added it on, since she never did it and the tech told me I was lucky it was still working. 

I was thinking about sueing her and asking for a judgement for wage garnishment. But I was wondering if there is another way? Can I just turn it over to debt collections and pay to have it on her credit report, or will the debt collectors put it on her credit report? After she laughed at me, I looked up the AZ laws on landlord tennants. According to that I have fulfilled all my lawful obligations, but it doesn't say much about recovering remedies. :0( 

Its almost impossible for use small time landlords to put something on someone's credit report.  Are you out $800 - $250 - security deposit?  Honestly, if that's the case, I'd not let it bother me.  I don't, in fact.  If you want to try to collect, I'd just hand it over to a collection agency.  Collecting from tenants is difficult.  Clean it up, fix it up and get a new tenant ASAP.

I would be suprised if you can go after er for the AC repairs. I don't think it's the tenants responsibility to take care of it. If she couldn't let someone in you or your manager probably should have met them to insure it was done. I never trust my tenants to keep up with changing air filters. 

The rest of it you'll need to get a judgement against her first, which means more money invested to go after her. Once that is complete you can turn it over to a debt collector, who will take roughly half IF they collect, or try to find out where she works and file the garnishment yourself. I've done it several times. Most of the time you get a few payments and then they move jobs on you, but have been successful on occasion.

I did, I turned in in about 5 days. Drove to AZ and did all the repairs, shows, apps, screenings, and deal quickly. I'm out 2k though. Not including travel expenses, but I'm not too worried about that, It'll come off at the end of the year. My husband and I were talking about it and he agreed that it might be easier to send it to debt collectors. . . Do debt collectors report to credit beaureaus?

@ Carlos, I totally understand and agree, however I live out of state. Hazard of owning out of state I guess. And someone needs to be present in order for professionals to enter the premisses.