So I finally found a reason to post checks in a blog post image. I have earned my stripes and joined the ranks of online businesses that post checks as “proof”. Those are five checks that are approximately $300 each. I prefer to cash a handful of checks at once and to send my client a large sum. Keep reading to see How I Collected Rent Owed By Former Tenants in Maryland.
This particular tenant owed my client $6000 so this isn’t the first set of checks or the last check we’ll be receiving.
Step One: You Need To Get A Money Judgment Against Your Tenant ~ How I Collected Rent Owed By Former Tenants In Maryland
So, in most cases, a judgment against a tenant for failure to pay rent is only good for possession. This is because it’s common practice to use the Sheriff to serve the complaint. For these kinds of cases, the Sheriff almost always serve the tenants by posting to the premises. Although this is good for possession, it is not adequate to get a money judgment. To get a money judgment personal service (handing the complaint to the person) is required.
A landlord can (a) hire a private process server to serve the failure to pay rent complaint via personal service or (b) file a civil lawsuit against the tenant after they have obtained possession. Either works but I tend to prefer to file the second lawsuit for the monetary judgment.
The reason is admittedly partly due to inertia, it’s just how I’m used to doing it. But another more practical reason is that you won’t truly know how much money a tenant owes you until after you have inspected the property. In many cases, you’ll find that your property has been damaged by the tenant. In your civil suit against the tenant, you can sue for both unpaid rent and for damages to the property.
How Do you Locate Tenants After They Have Left The Property? ~ How I Collected Rent Owed By Former Tenants in Maryland
A common question I am asked by landlords is, how do I find out where my former tenant is staying so I can serve them with a lawsuit? It’s a great question, that also happens to be an easy one. By hiring professionals to locate them. Most process servers can find out where someone is staying, and if they can’t, someone can. I once referred my client to former Navy super soldier guys James Bond guys to find someone servers couldn’t, and they did. With enough money, you can find anyone.
Once you find out where they’re staying, you file a lawsuit against them and you have your day in court.
Step Two: How To Collect On The Money Judgment?
Unfortunately, a money judgment is just a piece of paper. In a perfect world, the Judge will just make the tenants fork over the money or the tenants will just hand over the money after you’ve won. But we don’t live in a perfect world and that’s not what happens. Indeed, if we lived in a perfect world we wouldn’t have to sue our tenants in the first place. In fact, if we lived in a perfect world I wouldn’t have a job, but I digress.
Your former tenants probably won’t give up their money willingly so you’ll have to take it. My favorite tool to collect money is wage garnishment but there are other tools such as levying bank accounts.
What Is Wage Garnishment
A wage garnishment is a court order that directs your tenant’s employer to send you a portion of their check until your judgment is satisfied. To do this you simply need to file a writ of garnishment of wages after you’ve received your money judgment. If granted, the employer will be ordered to send a portion of their wages.
The checks in my blog post image were collected using this method.
How Do I Find Out Where My Former Tenant Is Currently Employed? ~ How I Collected Rent Owed By Former Tenants in Maryland
You hire someone to find where they work.
What Is a Bank Account Levy?
A bank account levy is to banks as a wage garnishment is to employers. It orders the tenant’s bank to send you money in their account.
How Do I Find Out Where My Tenant Banks?
You hire someone to find where they bank.
What If My Former Tenant Files For Bankruptcy?
In the worst-case scenario, the debt your tenant owes you may be discharged. Pick up the phone and contact a Creditor’s attorney to see what can be done.
But if your bankrupt tenant is still in possession of your property, check out this article on What Happens When A Tenant Files For Bankruptcy In Maryland? to see how to gain possession of your property back.
Where Can I Find Out More About Post Judgment Collection In Maryland? ~ How I Collected Rent Owed By Former Tenants in Maryland
The Maryland Code. But the District Court of Maryland’s Post Judgment Collection Handbook is really good.
Who Can I Hire To Help Me Collect Rent From My Former Tenants in Maryland?
This is quite literally, the million-dollar question. The moment you’ve been waiting for. This is where I tell you to hire me. Why else would I go through the trouble of writing this article? Why else would I post proof of actual checks made out to me on behalf of my clients as a result of my collection efforts?
Because I just wanted an excuse to post checks and to write a helpful article. I have joined the upper echelon of businesses that have posted checks for proof. Although I am accepting clients for possession actions such as failure to pay rent or wrongful detainer actions, I am not accepting new clients for post-judgment collection.
I think the debt collection is better suited for debt collection attorneys. And I like to stick with what I do best as a real estate & landlord-tenant attorney. I think I serve my clients best within my narrow but deep niche.
That said, I know plenty of debt collection attorneys so if you need referrals do not hesitate to contact us!