Taking tenant to small claims court

7 Replies

Greeting BP members,

My tenant left the condo breaking the lease without telling me.
Basically his check bounced and when I tried to get in touch he text me that keys are in condo.
I ran to find the condo empty.

Was shocked to find out that he’s moved to a town house within the SAME community .
So I have his new address for any court summons .

I have his security deposit which he will forefit for breaking the lease.

Can I take him to small claims court to get the last months rent ?

Thanks for responding

Send him the normal security deposit statement with what he owes you for and that it needs to be paid in 10 days. State guidelines apply to how timely you need to mail that out.

You are required to mitigate damages, meaning you need to advertise the condo for rent as soon as it is ready, if you find someone to lease it for any portion of the remainder of his lease period then you send a adjusted security deposit statement out with a reduced amount due.

You can't collect rent from 2 people for the same period of time. 

Download your landlord tenant laws and know that even if you file in small claims, it's difficult to collect your damages.. and you don't know for sure what they are yet because you haven't tried to rent it out.. 

My lease has an early termination clause for $2800 , that’s 2 months of rent
In Florida if someone abandons the property like he did they need to pay the fine.

I have no notice for him terminating his lease and he had refused to answer any phone calls.

Hypotheticallt speaking you take him to small claims court and assuming you win; will you ever collect the monies owed?

Perhaps the mere fact of winning may give you the piece of mind and satisfaction you are seeking. And sometimes that in itself outweighs what would be better financial decision.

To your success!

I think you've gotten some great advice already. Are you sure that you want to go through the hassle of court though? Sometimes it isn't worth your time, effort, and money to go to court, even if you think you'll win the case. As David said, it may be tough to even collect that money. Sometimes the best thing is to move on with a new tenant in place. Ultimately it depends on the amount of money owed, whether you think they will have the ability to repay, and if you want to go through the court hassle. Priority number 1 should be to get that place rented again though.

You have possession,,clean it,, rent it out.. mitigate your own loss potential.. 

@Taz Patel By taking him to court you are letting others aware that he is a deadbeat. I always take deadbeat tenants to court. If I have done my job correctly I will get a judgment. I feel I owe it to the next landlord. I believe in Florida the judgment is good for 10 years and 20 if recorded. It will accrue interest and will be on his CBR. You might not collect on it but going through the process will make you more familiar with your lease and the local landlord laws. It will also make you a better LL. If you spend a morning in LL court and or small claims you'll see it's not hard to do. Also an hour with a collection attorney is money well spent.

Good Luck

The HOA was already made aware of this situation.

I still don’t have the contact information for the new landlord but I will also mail them a letter because I don’t want this deadbeat to play the same game with the other LL.

The guy care about his credit because he signed up for rent credit reporting on the eRentPayment website . So I am hoping that will ding his credit too.

Since it seems like a simple case of lease breaking I am tempted to get a court judgement and see how he responds
There is a good chance of merely filing the court paper work might push this guy to pay up

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