Bill Gray – The Landlord Doctor

Insider Advice on Collecting Tenant Debt and Screening Tenants

Posts Tagged ‘ex’

Landlords Who do Not Screen are Shooting Themselves in the Foot

Posted by Bill Gray on September 23, 2009

[tweetmeme source=”your_twitter_name” only_single=false http://www.URL.com%5DemailOf the 20 to 30 emails I receive per day from landlords with tenants who owe them money, 5 or 6 are from landlords who did not screen their tenants before they rented to them and are now upset that the tenant burned them.  I shake my head when I read these requests for help.

For whatever reason, the landlord rented to someone who “looked okay” and then got upset when the tenant burned them.  Would these landlords buy a used car sight unseen?  Or show up at a dog shelter and say, “give me any dog, I don’t need to see it or know anything about it.”?  Of course they wouldn’t.  As absurd as this sounds, it is basically how they run their rental business.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Collection Agencies, Credit Report, Evicted, Tenant Debt Collections, Tenant Screening | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

SUING AN EX-TENANT FOR PAST DUE RENT: What Factors To Consider

Posted by Bill Gray on September 14, 2009

[tweetmeme source=”your_twitter_name” only_single=false http://www.URL.com%5DTristan R. Pettit, Attorney at Law, Milwaukee WI –       Tristan’s Landlord – Tenant Law Blog www.petriestocking.com/blog/

Your tenant has already vacated your rental unit – so there is no need to file an eviction action — but they left owing you money.  Is it worth your time and effort to sue them in order to obtain a money judgment?  This is probably the third most frequently asked question that I receive when talking to landlords (the first two most asked questions in case you are curious are (1) which notice do I use when? and (2) how do I evict my tenant?).

There is not a simple answer to this question.  It depends . . . on many things.  Many variables need to be taken into consideration before deciding to spend the time and effort to sue an ex-tenant.  Let’s consider what some of those variables are.

1.     How much money does the tenant owe you?

Is the amount that is owed to you worth the time, energy, and cost to attempt to collect it?  You will need to purchase a small claims summons which will cost you approximately $100.  You will need to personally serve the ex-tenant with the assistance of the Sheriff or a private process server — typical cost between $35-$100.  If you are representing yourself you will spend time away from work and therefore lose some wages.  If you opt to hire a lawyer to represent you, you need to consider how much you will have to pay the lawyer.

There is no magic dollar amount that makes suing a tenant worth it or not worth it.  The “breaking point” as I like to call it, will be different for different people. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Credit Bureau Reporting, Evicted, Landlord Tenant, Landlord Tenant Law, Tenant Debt Collections | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

I’ve been having all kinds of trouble collecting the rent from my current tenants

Posted by Bill Gray on September 9, 2009

[tweetmeme source=”your_twitter_name” only_single=false http://www.URL.com%5D

“Hi Bill,  I own a house in North Texas and I’ve been having all kinds of trouble collecting the rent from my current tenants.  They skipped 2 months of rent  back in May & June and started paying again in July & Aug but then, now they don’t have money to pay for this month(September), I am getting ready to file Eviction on them.

Do you have any advice for me with this kind of situation?  Thanks for your help, I’m looking forward to hearing from you,”.   Sincerely, Teresa S.

ar123161236568119

Hi Teresa,

It sounds like your tenants are running over you like a Mack truck.  They are costing you money! If I woke up in your shoes this morning I would begin the eviction process immediately.  Don’t change your mind, or listen to any sob stories.  Put them out and find some good tenants that will pay their rent.   Start fresh and be firm with your new tenants.  If you haven’t already, sign up for a free account with the American Apartment Owners Association.  You can find a link on my blog.  I recommend you take advantage of the discount and join as a premium member so you may screen future tenants.

Keep track of all the rent they owe and your out of pocket costs to ready and re-rent the unit.  After they are gone, let me know and I will try to help you with the debt.

Don’t let tenants like this run over you!

Keep your chin up and press forward.  Good luck, and let me know if I can be of any help.

Regards, Bill Gray

Bill@thelandlorddoctor.com

www.thelandlorddoctor.com

Copyright 2009

Share

Posted in Credit Bureau Reporting, Discounts, Landlord Tenant, Landlord Tenant Law | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

An Organized Landlord Has Less Tenant Debt and More Profit

Posted by Bill Gray on August 22, 2009

[tweetmeme source=”your_twitter_name” only_single=false http://www.URL.com%5DMessyFilesAn organized landlord is a more profitable landlord.  I have reviewed many thousands of tenant debtor files, and one thing is certain; by looking at a tenant file after the tenant moves out, I can usually tell you fairly accurately how the property is being managed.  A well-organized landlord who documents everything has less tenant debt, and, as result enjoys more profit.

Organize your files logically and consistently.  At least half of the files I review are little more than a pile of unorganized papers thrown into a file folder; and often very important documents are missing

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Evicted, Landlord Tenant, Tenant Debt Collections | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin Tradeshow and Educational Seminar

Posted by Bill Gray on August 21, 2009

I am scheduled to speak with members of the Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin September 16th.  I look forward to meeting members and talking with them about how to collect their tenant debt. 

Contact: Tim Ballering “10th Annual Landlord Tradeshow & Educational Seminar” for Apartment Association of Southeastern WI on Meetup
Serb Hall, Milwaukee, WI on Wed Sep 16, 12:00 AM

Posted in Credit Bureau Reporting, Landlord Tenant, Tenant Debt Collections | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

When a Tenant is Behind in Rent, When Should You Call it Quits?

Posted by Bill Gray on August 17, 2009

[tweetmeme source=”your_twitter_name” only_single=false http://www.URL.com%5DToday I reviewed over eighty tenant debt accounts and noted that the average balance due is significantly higher than a year ago. With theemptypockets exception of the most expensive areas (such as California, New York City, and the northeast), the average amount of tenant debt is normally between $2500 and $3000.

I separated all accounts over $4000 and took a hard look at them to determine why there were so many high balances.  The answer was that landlords allowed tenants to go month after month paying little or no rent, before they were eventually evicted or the tenant skipped out. This is obviously a sign of the times.

I assume landlords are allowing tenants to live in their units for three to four months without paying rent for one of two reasons:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Collection Agencies, Credit Bureau Reporting, Evicted, Landlord Tenant, Tenant Debt Collections | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Landlords Should Consider Settling Tenant Debt

Posted by Bill Gray on August 11, 2009

[tweetmeme source=”your_twitter_name” only_single=false http://www.URL.com%5DSome of my most uncomfortable moments have come when talking to landlords about considering settlement offers.  Often, the landlord is somoney4 emotional about the debt he or she is owed that settling is not an option.

After 12 years of reviewing tenant debt accounts, I can tell you with certainty that landlords who seriously consider settlement offers recover much more money than landlords who don’t.

If a previous tenant makes a settlement offer, he or she is looking to resolve the debt for some reason right now.  Maybe he is trying to rent another place to live, or trying to obtain a mortgage or another loan. For whatever reason, he is motivated to pay you.  If you ignore the offer, he may find another way to rent or get a mortgage or loan without paying you.  This may be your only opportunity to collect even part of what you are owed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Collection Agencies, Credit Bureau Reporting, Evicted, Landlord Tenant, Tenant Debt Collections | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

My Previous Tenants Were Roommates – Who Owes Me the Money?

Posted by Bill Gray on August 6, 2009

[tweetmeme source=”your_twitter_name” only_single=false http://www.URL.com%5D
In most cases they both owe you.  First of all, each individual over the age of 18 should have signed the lease.  If this is not your policy, change your policy today.  There are several important reasons for requiring all adults to sign the lease, but for this article we are speaking simply to who owes you money.

Assuming your previous tenants moved more than 30 days ago, you should now report each of them to all three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.  My article, “Tenant Moved Out – Left You Holding the Bag” explains how to determine how much, if anything, you are owed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Collection Agencies, Credit Bureau Reporting, Tenant Debt Collections | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Documents are Required for a Collection Agency to Attempt to Collect Past Due Rent?

Posted by Bill Gray on July 30, 2009

PaperworkMy experience has been that an agency may not take over a debt before the 31st day after move out. Different agencies require various documents. Have these documents organized and available:  Signed lease, rental application, move out statement documenting all charges, and any supporting documents such as receipts. See my other posts for more details.

For more details, see my post:   Tenant Moved Out – Left You Holding the Bag

If I can help, contact me at Bill@thelandlorddoctor.com

Thanks for the question and good luck.
Bill Gray

www.thelandlorddoctor.com

www.theinfomedlandlord.com

Copyright 2009

Share

Posted in Collection Agencies, Credit Bureau Reporting, Evicted, Tenant Debt Collections | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How do I Hire a Collection Agency to Collect my Tenant Debt?

Posted by Bill Gray on July 28, 2009

[tweetmeme source=”your_twitter_name” only_single=false http://www.URL.com%5DHanding my tenant debt immediately to a collection agency is not my first preference.  Myself, I would first report the debt to Experian, Equifaxmakingdecisions and TransUnion, and let the ding on the debtor’s credit report work a few months before I gave it to an agency that will charge me a hefty commission.

Collecting tenant debt is much different than collecting other debts, such as credit card debt.  A collection agency represents you and your business, and you could be taken to court should they violate the law.  And, just as important as

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Collection Agencies, Credit Bureau Reporting, Evicted, Tenant Debt Collections | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »