To sue against ex-tenant for unpaid rent and damages. My ex-tenants don't have jobs and recipients of SSI. Cannot garnish SSI?

Asked over 1 year ago - Richmond, CA

It's true, I cannot garnish SSI money. My ex-tenants owe me about $20,000. for unpaid rent and damaged/ransacked my property. They all are recipients of SSI. I mailed itemized security deposit by certified mail and email but one tenant refused to accept the mail, one accepted it. I have proof to mail it. My tenants sublet-ed part of my house and that person ransacked my place. I have only his P.O Box address so how can I serve my claim of plaintiff form? I have physical addresses of the other two. Should I go to superior court instead of small claim court? because they owe me about $20,000. They don't have any assets to collect, no wages, so what options do I have to sue. Do I need a lawyer if I sue them in Superior court. Do you think any attorneys will take it with contingency fee basis

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Christian Frederick Paul

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . If the target defendants have only SSI as income, that may impact collecting the judgment, but it won't impact suing for the damages.

    To serve a defendant for whom you have only a P.O. box, you have to make a diligent search for the underlying address, and if you cannot find it, can apply for leave to serve the summons by publication.

    If you want the whole $20,000, then yes, you must sue in limited jurisdiction superior court, not small claims.

    The only way to find out whether an attorney will accept your case on a contingent fee is to take all the information and evidence you have when you meet with the attorney and see what he or she will agree to.

    Good luck.

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