Tenant's Debt Collection

15 Replies

Hi -

Am I able to enter the defaulted rent amount on a tenant's credit even though we entered into an agreement in court?

I filed an eviction in the Philadelphia court system against my tenants.  The eviction was resolved by judgement by agreement where the tenant's agreed to move by the end of the month.  Am I able to still file the defaulted amount on their credit? 

Thanks in advance.

No, because an agreement was adjudicated. You didn't actually win a judgment. Only a court issued judgment can be entered onto someone's credit.

@Stephanie D.

I would be careful about how you handle this. Unless you have a very good reason to do so, I wouldn't try to do anything outside of what the judgment expressly states. 

Disclaimer: While I’m an attorney licensed to practice in PA, I’m not your attorney. What I wrote above does not create an attorney/client relationship between us. I wrote the above for informational purposes. Do not rely on it for legal advice. Always consult with your attorney before you rely on the above information.

Originally posted by @Stephanie D. :

Hi -

Am I able to enter the defaulted rent amount on a tenant's credit even though we entered into an agreement in court?

I filed an eviction in the Philadelphia court system against my tenants.  The eviction was resolved by judgement by agreement where the tenant's agreed to move by the end of the month.  Am I able to still file the defaulted amount on their credit? 

Thanks in advance.

 Why wasn't the tenant ordered to pay the amount owed to you? I have heard that some of the tenants are staging the scene or breaking some stuff in the house just to avoid paying rent.

@Stephanie D. , I have gone through the eviction process a couple of times.  Weather you are able to report to the credit bureau or garnish wages depends on the type of judgement you received.  It sounds like you did not get a judgement for eviction and/or the payment of rents owed.  Review your judgement again to determined what you agreed to exactly.

Even if you are represented by a lawyer in these matters it is in your best interest to educate yourself so you know what to expect when you walk into court.

@Paulette Midgette Thanks. I had an attorney who represented me, so I will contact him.  The judgement ordered for them to vacate the property, but the agreement was made for them to leave and not pay.   My attorney thought that this was the best way for me to handle because he wanted me to avoid them filing an appeal, which could take another three months and an additional $3,500 in attorney fees. The Philly landlord tenant system is difficult for landlords.

The lesson I learned in all this is not feel sorry for anyone. I kept falling for the tenant's story until they were three months behind. Going forward, I will file an eviction immediately. I will connect with you since you are from Philly as well.

thanks much!

It sounds like you were suing for possession of the rental unit and nothing more (not unusual).  If that's the case, you'll probably have to sue the tenant in small claims court for the money owed.

@Ray Harrell I don't believe that's correct. I report Tenants to collection agencies all the time without taking them to court and getting a judgment.

@Stephanie D. When you get a "judgment by agreement" you are basically agreeing to those terms. Unless there is a dollar amount included in the judgment, you essentially gave up your right to collect funds.

@Nathan G. , does it actually show up on their credit reports? Do you report when they pay AND when they don't pay? I don't see how you can do that, but I could be wrong. If that's the case then anyone could report anyone else to a credit bureau out of spite, even if there is no past due balance.

@Ray Harrell I complete a form with the collection agency and provide all the supporting documentation. They try to contact the individual and collect payment. After a certain amount of time, they report the individual to the credit bureaus. I had a tenant move out in August owing about $800. He just contacted me last month and made a payment, apparently because he was trying to buy a house and this was sitting on his report. No court judgment required and one of the few I've actually received payment for.

So you filed through a collection agency. That's the difference. I thought you were just reporting it to the credit bureau directly. 

@Ray Harrell , sorry for not being clear.  I was reporting through a collection agency as noted by @Nathan G.   I have done this before and it worked. My only concern is that I had to go through the court to get possession of my property.  I just want to kick myself for allowing these tenants to get oer me.  

@Stephanie D. , Join HAPCO, link below.  It is well worth the $125 annual fee.  You can hire a lawyer through them to represent you in Landlord tenant court.  There is a sliding scale fee but I am sure the fee is much cheaper than you would pay your own lawyer.

http://hapcoassoc.com/