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Posts: 11
Reply with quote  #1 

Is it worth it to take a tenant to small claims? Had a tenant that I properly evicted. When the Marshall and I entered it was trashed, carpet had holes cut out. Stunk from unauthorized cat and left alot of garbage. I'm seeking to recoup damages. A lawyer friend who handled the eviction said that I would most likely get a judgment, but would probably not be able to collect. The tenant was able bodied and is probably working.  No issues with veterans status or ADA issues that might complicate things.  Technically I still have the deposit because he never provided me with a forwarding address. The damages, lost rent, utility payments (it was winter) would definitely be over 5,000, but I would only claim the max that small claims will allow. I am in Connecticut.

Any advice?


Sorry if this was posted in the wrong area, (im a newby to the site)


Posts: 445
Reply with quote  #2 

It is probably worth while in that if they go to rent anywhere else, you can have a judgment that shows up.  Would not count on getting anything, but you may.  After you try and collect for a while, turn it over to a collections agency-- they will make sure that it is pursued and notice given to all the credit rating companies-- then it shows up when they want to buy a car, get car insurance, rent a car, rent a home etc.


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Posts: 369
Reply with quote  #3 
I would do it, solely that you might get money from it and secondly so it shows up on their records.  Let them have a stain on their records like they left a stain on your place.

Posts: 3,817
Reply with quote  #4 
The eviction alone should be enough to show future LLs that they do not want that tenant.  The judgment would show creditors that he is a bad risk for buying anything on credit.

Read your deposit law carefully.  Failing to provide a forwarding address may not absolve you of the responsibility to do a proper itemized accounting.  In many states, if the tenant leaves no forwarding, the LL must send the accounting of the deposit to the rental address (and wait for it to come back to you - just in case they put in a change of address with the PO).  Check to see if your state law says you have no responsibility if no forwarding.  Otherwise, believe it or not, that tenant can sue for that deposit - and win!

Itemize the repairs for all damages to the unit beyond wear & tear, charge for unpaid rent while he was there (not after you evicted him, which technically ended his lease), charge for unpaid utilities while the tenant lived there (not for heating the home after he moved out.  That's your responsibility.)  Charge for your labor IF your state allows it.  Send that statement out immediately showing credit for the deposit, but that he owes you a balance.

Now, is it worth it to file for a judgment?  File if you think you will be able to collect:  if you can find where the tenant works to garnish wages, if the tenant won't immediately quit his job, if you think the tenant will want to buy some big ticket item in the next 7-10 years (car, house, etc.), if you think the tenant has or will have a good job or trade, if you must stand on principle, ... 

Don't bother to file:  If the tenant is on SS or disabilty (can't garnish these), if the tenant jumps from job to job (he'll never stay long enough for you to get any money), if the tenant never bothers to work, if you can't find where he works, ... 
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