My tenants owe &5000 in past due rent and $1200 in the balance of a non-refundable down pmt. fot the purchase of the house. The lease stated they had 12mon to purchase. They have been there 2 yrs. We sent a certified letter with the amt owed and demand to vacate. They did agree to vacate by the end of month. The electric meter has been pulled from the house due to tampering. How do I collect this money after they move out and can I garnish wages? I know we waited way too long to put them out but we were trying to believe them and help them. Is there a form to use so that we dont have to have an attorney right now. Thanks
You have a number ofoptions.
A. Contact them and see if they are willing to settle for a lesser a sum (a compromise). They might if you let have payment terms.
B. Small claims.
1. You can sue in small claims court up to $5,000, this is the easiest, because it is informal and the forms are easy. You can get a judgment relatively quickly, say 2-3 months. You can help in filling out the forms - the clerks will refer to to legal aid possibly, if you need any help.
2. The hearing is informal and you will get a judgment quickly.
3. I am assuming here, you know here they work. After you get the judgment, you fill out a form called a writ of execution, which has the judgment amount on it, and direct it to the Sheriff of the County where your ex tenants are working. Along with the writ, you will need a form called a Application for an Earnings WIthholding Order, and an Earnings Withholding Order. You will need either a Sheriff or a Regstered Process Server to server these ("RPS"). The RPS might even be able to help you fill out the forms.
4. The Sheirff or RPS serves the employer and the deduct up to 25% of take-home pay and send it to you.
If you want more details than I can give here buy "Collect Your Court Judgment" by Nolo Press, as usual an excellent book for non-lawyers. I weened on these books before I came one on speeding tickets. $20 well invested.