Connie from Dallas became a member of the Collect Back Rent team in January. Connie was a retired teacher who was the landlord of 9 units. She had a tenant who had moved out of her apartment and owed 2 months’ rent and $2,000 in damages. Connie had heard tales of failure and he moved out without warning.
Connie received a deposit of $1,000, so the first thing she had to do was send an itemized report on the distribution of the deposit. The $1,000 in damages was deducted from the deposit ($1,000) that she sent to the tenant, leaving a balance of $1,000. The deposit letter was accompanied by a demand for $3,000 (rent and remaining damage). Connie sent an itemized bill and demand for payment by registered mail with return receipt requested.
After the former tenant did not respond to the claim within 30 days, Connie filed a claim for $3,000 in damages ($2,000 rent, $1,000 damages plus court costs). I suggested that Connie hire a licensed bailiff to serve the court papers. During this time, the defendant hired an attorney. The small claims court papers should be served on the defendant and the defendant’s attorney.
Note: Connie has never been in a courtroom, much less in front of a judge. I did some counseling to prepare her for the court hearing. Connie had a “checklist” to show the judge what the apartment looked like when the defendant moved in. She had to show a state-approved lease, a letter of deposit, a reminder letter, proof of service, photos, and receipts for damages. I offered to show a picture or two of each of the damages, as well as a receipt for the purchase of the carpet she replaced. Another tip is to bring a witness to the court hearing if you are suing for damages. This could be the property manager, a worker, or a business associate.
Trial Day: She presented her case perfectly in front of the judge and the defendant’s attorney. The defendant’s attorney offered a settlement of $2,700 for the alleged $3,000 – Connie immediately agreed. She couldn’t believe it.
She had already received a paycheck and had confidently acquired a mountain of knowledge. She walked into the courtroom and punched a lawyer! This is a success story of a homeowner who continues to educate herself and develop the ancient profession of homeownership!
When you buy a rental property, you have to learn how to collect money from a defaulter. I have made it my mission to educate landlords on the full cycle of their business. It all starts with serving notices, evictions, small claims, all the way up to enforcement of a judgment.