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How do I collect on past rent and damages after a tenant was evicted?

Santa Barbara, CA |

I have the Writ of Possession and Judgment for Possession. In addition to back rent owed for several months there were extensive damages to the house and yard. I have all the bills for the repairs, the Notice to Pay Rent or Quit and photos of the damage. How can I get all the money owed (it is a very large amount). Can I have the this tenant thrown in jail if they promise to pay, and don't? Can I levy the bank account? Garnish wages? The ex-tenant is a deadbeat who is coming into a great deal of money - I have that in writing from the tenant's attorney.

Attorney Answers 1

  1. You need to sue the tenant. If the amount is more than $7,500 (if you're an individual and not a corporation), you'll have to sue in Superior Court.

    Once you get a judgment, then you can execute on it by garnishing wages, attaching bank accounts, etc. There's no such thing as debtor's prison, so this would just be a civil suit for money.

    If this tenant's got money, and assuming you have an attorney's fee clause in your lease, you should hire a lawyer to go after this deadbeat since you can add the legal fees to your claim.

    Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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