Tenant up and gone, any recourse? - Posted by Doug

Posted by PBoone on March 09, 2000 at 13:11:22:

You can go to small claims and get a judgement which is good for 10 years after the fact, You will need to know where he is in order to serve the papers first.
My best advice would be to learn from this experience. Always be “Fair, Fast and Firm” what I mean by this is:
Fair: Tell the people up front what to expect
Fast: Send or serve notices immediately when due
Firm: There is no reason (excuse)do deviate.
This advice comes from the school of had knocks and it works

Tenant up and gone, any recourse? - Posted by Doug

Posted by Doug on March 09, 2000 at 12:13:07:

I found out today that a tenant I have moved out last weekend without telling me or turning in the keys. He is also two months behind on the rent. I bent over backwards to work with this guy, he was always late with the rent and I let him pay what he could without any late fees. The apt. is filthy. Is there anything I can do to go after this guy and get at least some of the money he owes me? I know he’s still in town somewhere but I don’t know exactly where he is living now. Thanks for your help.


Re: Tenant up and gone, any recourse? - Posted by Rob FL

Posted by Rob FL on March 09, 2000 at 20:52:08:

I think the advice of Pat and Bill is great. Keep the security deposit (following all laws regarding this) and work toward cleaning up and getting it re-rented.

Although I do think it would probably be futile, one of the easiest ways to track somebody down is to mail them a letter to that address with the words “address correction requested.” The post office will send you the forwarding address. If that doesn’t work go back to the rental application and start calling the references he put on it. It is amazing what people will tell you if you just ask.

Re: Tenant up and gone, any recourse? - Posted by Bill

Posted by Bill on March 09, 2000 at 19:46:16:

You definitely have the right to keep the security deposit and use it to fix up the dirty mess. As long as there’s no big damage,first order of business is to clean and paint and get it rented again.
Going after the guy might be an exercise in futility. Even if you get a judgement in your favor,the guy probably has no money. This is a situation where it’s strictly business and what is your cheapest alternative? He’s gone…THAT’s GOOD!!! You could hire a skip tracer to go after him,but I suspect you’d never get the money you put into it.

One lesson to be learned…ALWAYS stick to the eviction process of your state. For example,in Illinois,you can serve notice 5 days after past due rent. Always start the procedure immediately. If you give the tenant slack by letting him be late,even once,the horror story of it is if you get to court,there’s a chance the judge would find in favor of the tenant sinc you’ve historically given “verbal chage and ok” to the lease agreement. File immediately and keep copies of all letters.
I also found you can legally have your lawyer file the eviction notice. If the tenant corrects,you then have the right to demand not only rent due but the cost of filing the eviction by your attorney. That’s $300 easy you can take from/hold from security. Talk with your attorney for sure and discuss future handling procedures. The lawyer and your discussion will be an education and preparation for the future.

Good luck!


In a sense…count your blessings… - Posted by SusanL.–FL

Posted by SusanL.–FL on March 09, 2000 at 15:10:14:

that the tenants are G-O-N-E (and that you don’t have the time/expense/aggravation of having to evict them!)

Like PBoone said, ‘a lesson from the school of hard knocks’. Learn the lesson and move along.

(I am also of the opinion that I doubt it would be worth your while to chase them down for ‘damages’… …'cause many of these characters don’t have a ‘pot to _ _ _ in’…)

Good luck!


It’s talked about so much here - Posted by Ted T

Posted by Ted T on March 09, 2000 at 13:49:26:


This is where the magic of Lease Optioning comes in. Your tenant/buyer would have given you option consideration and his moving would have been the best thing that happened! Even though the mess exists, you would have plenty of cash to bring it back to first class condition and then got to do it all over again. Doug, we all have our own favorite ways, some prefer “Rentals” some “Lease Options” etc. Another advantage of the Lease Option is that the tenant/buyer has an interest in the property technically due to his up front money (Consideration) and is 1,000 times more likely to take care of the property. Whereas a “Rental Tenant” gives you say 1 months rent for a deposit, he then has not much to lose. See what I’m saying here? Best of luck getting your damages but the way things look, it may cost you more than it’s worth. Get it fixed up and “Lease Option” it next time! Don’t keep putting yourself in this situation.