Need Rent Collections Company-- Back Rent & Broken Lease

3 Replies

Tenant moved out 11/1/17.  Owed back rent and lease was through 4/30/18.  Severe damage to property, destroyed appliances, etc.  Owes $8,000+  No forwarding add.  Final letter sent to tenant in Nov 2017 certified mail, returned as undeliverable.

I've looked for collections help online and there seems to be one major company Rent Recovery Service with a Glendale, CA address.   Apparently initial phase is they send out "collection letters, do skip tracing, AND report to tenant's credit.    If no results, you then switch over to phase where an attorney is brought in and your fee is 50% of collection.

I talked with person at Rent Recovery and he says I need a collection company that has an attorney in New Mexico.   I had contacted another online company several months back who was in Florida...pretty aggressive with his followups to me but I never followed through as I wasn't sure if it was the right way to go.   In their contract they indicate that they may have to refer to an attorney and of course that changes the picture.

Can someone please simplify this for me?   I did contact an attorney directly in Albuquerque last week.  Their office called and said he would be contacting me--haven't heard back.  

My questions:   

Is there a company I can safely hook up with who will be able to take it through to a reliable attorney in New Mexico?

I have a 10 page lease, states tenant will be responsible for legal fees in this event, do I add that amount to my actual loss of $8,000 or how does that get figured in with the attorney since you don't know going in how much will be collected.

If you go direct to attorney, do they also report to credit bureau?   

I think the credit bureau reporting is important.  The former tenant has a good job of over 8 years with a telecommunications company.

I'm just afraid to sign a contract with a collection company and then find out I've done the wrong thing and I'm tied up with them but they're not legitimate.     

Please offer any WARNINGS along with answers to questions.   Thank you all in advance.

The attorney's not going to be any help regarding reporting to credit agencies. If you get a court judgement against him, that usually becomes public record. 

My guess is you're going to spend a lot of time getting nothing out of this. If you have insurance, you might consider submitting against your insurance and let your insurance company do what they may to try to recover on this guy. They will try to abrogate against a former tenant (I've had it done to me!). 

For that amount of money, have an attorney in the jurisdiction file a claim through the courts.

Once you get a judgement in your favor, proceed to try to collect on the judgement. The court record will be permanent. If the tenant doesn't pay at this point or does not enter into a payment plan with you, proceed to have the tenant's wages garnished. This may work if the tenant is gainfully employed.

If this doesn't work and you need the assistance of a collection agency. Go for it. Collection agencies have better success when a judgement has been made, but they will require you to sign the judgement over to them. They will report to the credit bureaus. If they recover any or all of the money from the tenant, they will take their percentage fee from the amount they collect.

We've only taken a few accounts to a collection agency. The smaller the amount to collect, the less effort made on the part of the collection agency. We've never seen a dime, but the tenants were reported to the Credit Bureaus. Unfortunately, most negative items on the tenant's credit history will disappear after seven years if the claim is not renewed.

Marcia, 

Thank you for your response.  I contacted an attorney in Albuq NM.   According to him a lease is worthless insofar as tenant being held to what it outlines.  He stated that the Albuquerque courts will simply rule that once the keys to the property are turned over to the owner the tenant has no further responsibility.   My tenant just walked away with about 10 days notice verbally he was leaving.  Owed 1 months rent and late fees as his last month living in property he bounced a check then claimed bank error.  In addition to this other expense rightfully charged to tenant for destruction of appliances.   

His lease was through April 30.  Property did not re-rent until Feb 15.

Did I just get an attorney that didn't want to bother with an $8,000 case or is it true that a legally binding 10 page contract can just be ignored in the courts?