I leased my property to a tenant. Initially, he paid his rent on time, but after a while he started missing the monthly deadline and eventually stopped paying the rent altogether. I have now discovered that he has moved out without any notice to me, and without paying me his last three months’ rent. What can I do to recover this amount?
Unfortunately, the above scenario is all too common. Landlords often feel helpless and without recourse to a tenant who has disappeared in the middle of the night, on the second last day of the month. Fortunately, there is one way to potentially recover these outstanding monies from the delinquent tenant.
The procedure is essentially one of debt collection. Contact an attorney who is experienced in housing and property matters. An attorney can assist you in tracing the whereabouts of your debtor. If successful, the attorney can institute proceedings for you to compel the debtor to pay up. If the debtor is unable to pay, it is possible to get a court order allowing a sheriff to seize and sell the debtor’s property. If the debtor does not have sufficient property, then a last option exists: obtaining a court order which essentially seizes a portion of the debtor’s salary before he receives it.
Unfortunately, the process of recovering debt is not always an easy one – and it is always advisable to draft water-tight lease agreements, and to institute eviction proceedings against a delinquent tenant as soon as problems of non-payment arise. Contact Myers Attorneys for assistance with lease agreements, debt collection, eviction proceedings and other litigation and contract-related matters.