Going after evicted tenant - Posted by Tim (CT)

Posted by Tim (CT) on May 21, 2003 at 15:50:05:


Going after evicted tenant - Posted by Tim (CT)

Posted by Tim (CT) on May 16, 2003 at 17:00:42:

I’m evicting a tenant and I’ve incurred about $500 in legal fees. I have a clause in my lease that basically states that if I have to evict them and I incur legal fees, they would have to pay for it.

So, what’s the best way to go after the dollars. The husband is the only one on a lease and he’s a subcontractor for a cable company. The wife works about 15 hours a week and doesn’t make much for that.

Should I take them to small claims court? What about wage garnishment?

Any thoughts are appreciated.


Re: Going after evicted tenant - Posted by ken

Posted by ken on May 18, 2003 at 20:50:09:

In NY Ican take a tenant to small claims court very cheap.Iget a judgement and go after wages if possible. If not you may get a call when they try to buy a house. Don’t let it consume you it is not worth that but you can’t have tenants thinking of you as a pushover I would rather be known as a sob then the bad tenants don’t even apply

Re: Going after evicted tenant - Posted by Bill H

Posted by Bill H on May 16, 2003 at 20:58:59:


Just a suggestion. If you value your time at all. You are going to lose trying to collect the lousy $500.00. It will take more time, effort, and energy than it is worth. Having been there and done that…“It ain’t worth it.”

Say, “Thank You” for getting rid of a bad tenant. Perhaps you can take it off your income tax as a bad debt or business expense.


Re: Going after evicted tenant - Posted by Alexander Manuel

Posted by Alexander Manuel on May 16, 2003 at 22:03:40:

I agree with Bill- You’ll end up spending $1000 to get $500 back. From a purely business time/reward perspective it will be a loss. Unless you have some personal vendetta with the tenant and are willing to burn your $$$ to make their life a living hell, don’t even bother with it. It will be like trying to squeeze blood out of a rock, while simultaneously beating a dead horse.

I think the lesson learned here is that you don’t spend $500 on legal fees to evict a tenant when perhaps paying them off with a couple hundred could have been more effective. Also, to minimize the impact of this going forward, collect at least the equivalent or greater of 2 months rent for security.

I don’t know how your personality is, but a friend of mine who was once in your shoes played the role of “psycotic landlord” and did get something from his deadbeat tenant. On the day his tenants were scheduled to leave the property, he showed up with receipts of costs incurred and put on a Christopher Walken/Dirty Harry persona. Awkward pauses, peculiar glances and a demand for payment got his tenants nervous enough to cough up a few hundred before they left. Even if you don’t collect anything, at least you can have some fun with them.

Good Luck,


Hey, I like that!! - Posted by Tim (CT)

Posted by Tim (CT) on May 17, 2003 at 22:38:48:

I kind of agree. I won’t be able to get blood out of a stone (and, btw, I did try and bribe them to leave - she was too stupid to take the money and leave).

I do like the psychotic landlord trick. I think I’ll try that. What’s the worst that could happen. She’s already getting out and I’ve got a judgement against her!!


Re: Hey, I like that!! I’m not so sure!! - Posted by Doug (Alabama)

Posted by Doug (Alabama) on May 21, 2003 at 15:46:22:

How about the senario that they go nuts about then and go get a gun to shoot your sorry **s. Those kind of tricks are not for fun and can lead to some bad things happening. A good friend of mine once told me to put yourself in a juries shoes and see how it would sound to you if someone described the events to you.
Don’t think about doing it. YOU might be the one that ends up in court and how would it sound then.
My 2©