Collecting on Judgement - Posted by Al Pine (CA)


Posted by JHyre in Ohio on January 14, 1999 at 10:25:24:


First question- is the tenant a total deadbeat? If he has nothing to take, attempting to collect is a waste of time & money. Basically, if you don’t know the law (garnishment, liens, attachment and federal “fair collection” acts, to name a few), you’ll probably have to pay an attorney or collection company. If the amount owed is small, the cost of collection may be greater than the amount collected. While the collection laws usually allow recovery of collection costs, we are back to the “can’t squeeze blood from a turnip” issue. I doubt that it is worth your time to learn the relevant laws to collect this amount. If you are a large landlord and get stiffed alot, it may be worthwhile. Be careful- as JP & Joe Kaiser pointed out here recently, collection law is RIFE with traps.

If the amount is large enough, some attorneys or collection companies will collect on contingency. Check out the tenant’s credit report (I assume that you already obtained as part of pre-screening when the guy moved in) & see where this guy works, bank accounts, assets, etc. You should quickly determine whether this tunrip has any blood.

I think- but am not sure- that in CA you may take the deadbeat’s security deposit from a future landlord via garnishment. It would not get you on the landlord’s X-mas list, but you might get something for the hassle of finding the guy and going through the garnishment hoops. Probably not worth the effort…


John Hyre


Collecting on Judgement - Posted by Al Pine (CA)

Posted by Al Pine (CA) on January 14, 1999 at 10:02:50:

Hello Folks!

I recently evicted a tenant from one of my property (after three months of bickering w/them)To my surprise I also received a money judgment from the courts in which I was truly not expecting as all I wanted was to get them out of the property. So a judgement’s a judgement what are some of the ways to collect? Wage Garnishment? What the general procedure to due this? I know it’s a legal question so all responses will be for information only but what would you do next? Thank you in advance for your response.



Re: Collecting on Judgement - Posted by Rob FL

Posted by Rob FL on January 16, 1999 at 18:45:37:

Here is what I would do.

First make sure a copy of the judgment gets recorded in the public records of your county as well as any other neighboring counties that the tenant might possibly reside in in the future. If the tenant ever tries to buy a home in any of these counties, he will be forced to pay you off.

For $22 here in FL anyway, I can do a “personal background search” without the deadbeats permission. Hopefully you got the drivers license # and social security # when they filled out the application. This search gives asset info on vehicles, boats, employment records using SS#'s, accident reports, marriage licenses, real estate owned/mortgages, professional license search, and a dozen other things. If you have a very thorough rental application with lots of info about them, it really helps to track them down later.


Re: Collecting on Judgement - Posted by Tom Brown

Posted by Tom Brown on January 14, 1999 at 15:18:14:

I agree that unless the judgement is for a considerable amount, it is not worth the trouble. The best thing to do is to make sure that the judgement shows up on his credit report. If he tries to buy something on credit in the future, it may hamper his efforts and he may contact you to pay it off. (long shot)

I do know that you will have to file documents with the court to garnish his wages (more $) and that there is a certain amount of his wages that you can’t touch. I believe it is a multiple of the minimun wage.

The judgement is just a legal decision that this person owes you money. It doesn’t give you many collection options without further documents filed with the court.