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Recovering Past Due Rent and Fees from Former Tenants

 Posted on November 01, 2023 in Real Estate

San Antonio real estate lawyerWhen tenants move out while owing back rent, fees, or other unpaid charges, landlords can take steps to recover those debts. Texas law can help property owners recoup these outstanding payments even after the tenant vacates the unit. A Texas lawyer can help landlords understand what tenants should know about getting compensation from former tenants.

Send Formal Demand Letters

The first move is sending the former tenant a formal written notice demanding payment of precisely what they owe you. Itemize all overdue rent, early termination fees, late charges, pet damages beyond security deposit coverage, and utility bills in arrears. Specify calculated dollar amounts, reference the lease terms violated, and include copies of accounting records. The letter should state these sums are now due in total and you intend to pursue additional legal action if the tenant fails to pay promptly.

File in Small Claims Court

If repeated mailed demands are ignored after a reasonable time period transpires, small claims court is often the next best step for landlords seeking remuneration from a former occupant. The filing fees and processes are relatively affordable and straightforward for collecting a few thousand dollars or less in debtor damages. Gather all documentation that supports the amounts owed. This includes leases, notices, maintenance records, and bank statements indicating returned checks to prove and justify your claim amount before a judge.

Seek Garnishment of Wages

If you receive a court judgment in your favor, but the tenant still refuses voluntary payment, ask the court to issue an order to garnish the tenant’s wages going forward with their employer. Texas wage garnishments mean the tenant’s paycheck is legally required to pay toward their outstanding debt to you on an ongoing basis. While they may attempt to change jobs, hire an enforcement officer to track assets and ensure you receive every last available dollar. Recovering what irresponsible tenants owe you takes diligence and persistence, but financial justice is attainable with the proper legal courses of action. Do not let yourself be taken advantage of.

Be aware that federal law also limits wage garnishments to 25 percent of a person’s disposable weekly earnings or the amount a person makes above 30 times the federal minimum wage. Know your rights and consult the Texas Property Code.

Contact a San Antonio, TX Real Estate Lawyer

 Do not make missteps trying to recover funds yourself. Working with a Bexar County, TX real estate attorney is beneficial to ensure garnishment paperwork is filed accurately and monitor the tenant’s compliance. Though the tenant moved out and stopped payments through wage garnishment, you may still seek payment from irresponsible former tenants. Call Geoff Mayfield, Attorney at Law at 210-535-0870 for a free consultation.

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