Tenants Evicted with unpaid rent of 2 months

10 Replies

So tenants have been evicted. I have the judgement for the last FTPR which proves unpaid rent of 2 months. 


The question is, can i start the process of garnishment using that judgement and on a side i file for a large claim which would not include the 2 months unpaid rent but other costs/damages as they have been evicted before the lease expiration and did not finish the entire term.

What would be the best way to go about it. 

Originally posted by @John Underwood :

Is it legal to garnish wages in your state? If so get an attorney to take care of it.

 JOhn are there states that do not allow garnishment ?  i know there are limitations  IE cant leave them destitute.. with tenants though they seem to move to another job and those trying to chase them have a hard time.. to me its the cost of business for the landlord  IE bad debt etc.. 

I'm not sure I understand your situation completely. You have a judgement for unpaid rents (possibly plus other costs) for a specific dollar amount, right? Laws may vary state by state, but a judgement is basically a court document stating that money is owed to you. It does not by itself allow you to collect any money. You need to figure out how to do that by, ideally, communicating with the debtor/tenant or possibly hiring an attorney or collections to do what they do.

Regarding your mention of other costs/damages, what are they? Your unlawful detainer claim should have included all expenses allowable. If you are asking about additionally suing the tenant for not fulfilling the remainder of the lease, then no. Evicting a tenant is essentially terminating the lease. Hope that makes sense.

I suspect the problem is that David won the eviction and then discovered additional cleaning/repair charges after the tenant was removed from the home.

Regardless, I send this stuff to collections. It's very difficult to squeeze the money out of them so it's worth it to dump the mess in someone else's lap and move on. If I get some money back, great. If not, at least I'm not wasting my time chasing after them.

In the event your state allows one to garnish wages, it’ll be extremely difficult to do so. 

Find a collection agency that is willing to take on your judgment for an associated fee.

Don’t hold your breath, as collecting on this money is going to be extremely difficult.

Good luck! 

You can take them to small claims 

court if it’s under a certain amount . 

(In NY it’s $3000) . 

It’s a very minimal fee to process the 

hearing and does not require a 

lawyer . 

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :
Originally posted by @John Underwood:

Is it legal to garnish wages in your state? If so get an attorney to take care of it.

 JOhn are there states that do not allow garnishment ?  i know there are limitations  IE cant leave them destitute.. with tenants though they seem to move to another job and those trying to chase them have a hard time.. to me its the cost of business for the landlord  IE bad debt etc.. 

 It is not possible to garnish wages in SC. I wish it was.

okay so to explain my situation a little more.

I won the judgement, tenants owe 2 months rent, 6k.

Lease states court appearance by landlord is $350. I cannot charge this amount on a failure to pay rent case as this 350 is not a rent, even though my lease states it becomes rent. But my lawyer suggested no judge is going to give me that so it has to be claimed in small/large claims after tenants are evicted. So charges similar to this are around 4k now including water bill and lawyer/consultation fees.

Was i right for not asking for $350 in failure to pay rent case?

Should i use the judgement of 6k and start filing for garnishment and prepare another small claims to get judgement for 4k and once i win then i file for this new garnishment? 

I hope it clears my question a bit.

Did you build a tenant file when you first leased it to them?

That can be important as the tenant might almost be (judgement proof). In other words you get a judgement but it is basically worthless trying to collect. There are federal poverty guidelines on any garnishment and then even if you get that if there are other collectors the total amount can usually be no more than 25% of their income. 

Some if you go for garnishment they just go work for cash under the table somewhere or keep switching jobs to work a little at a time and when garnishment hits goes somewhere else.

Typically the flow once you have a judgement is a legal letter from an attorney that might get them to take action to do a settlement. If that doesn't work then sometimes a hand off to collections but if credit is trashed they generally care less about that.

Last stop on the train is a judgment recovery company. Sometimes if file is strong on the tenant for potential recovery they might spend the money and split proceeds with you over time to file court costs etc. If you want a buyout today typically they offer cash of 10 to 20 cents on the dollar. So 6,000 judgment 600 to 1,200 bucks.

You could possibly get a judgment and sit on it for years and hope their situation changes over time to pay for a settlement. There are laws to renew the judgment etc. Some areas allow garnishments of tax returns where you get back some of their yearly refund money. Another option is some debt companies just write off the value of the debt when it is not collectable. Example they buy debt for 100 and 400 is owed. Over the years with junk fees the amount balloons to 3,000 owed. They take the loss off of the taxes and send the amount to the IRS as forgiven debt.

You have to decide if you are in the debt collection business or the real estate business. The cost per hour and expenses to chase some people actually can cost you money in lost production time.

No legal advice given.