Tenant refused to leave forwarding address for obvious reasons (damages 5.5k), I am still waiting to get back the certified letter as "unclaimed" that I sent to their last known address with disposition of deposit. I've recently found their new address via investigator who ran a skiptrace and determined that they're living with a family member who purchased a house a year ago, seems kind of crowded to me so i'm not sure how long they'll stay there. I don't hope to get any money back from them, they don't have any assets besides cars, wife owns a business which is probably not documented (office is at home and i haven't found any info suggesting the business is properly documented, licensed etc) and husband gets paid under the table. I didn't realize certain things when I accepted their application, asked for paystubs but never got them (didn't put the 2 & 2 together, water under the bridge). Best I can hope for now is to warn other landlords, the only way I can do this is by getting a judgement and then applying for debt collection (again not thinking i'd get any money back) or skipping judgement and going straight to debt collectors. What should be my next steps?
Should I send certified mail disposition of deposit to their current address? Then go to court to get a judgement? I was hoping for small claims court but the limit for small claims is 5k, can I sue for $4,999 in small claims court if they owe 5.5k or is that not allowed? Or do I just skip the court and go straight to collections (if you've got a name with a good debt collector please share).