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Tenant left without paying - what can I do?

 

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Question:

I've had this tenant renting my house for 5 years and since the property is out of state and the tenant seemed to take care of everything himself, I did not pay too much attention to the house. I actually had not seen it in 3 years. Now he skipped two months' rent payment, when I tried to call him, the phone line was disconnecte. I flew over there and found the place trashed, junk all over the yard and house, holes in windows and interior walls. What can I do? I do have his social security number because I ran a credit check and a criminal background check on him before he moved in.

Answer:

Hopefully you have a rental policy on your home insurance. That will cover the vandalism.

You could try to file a judgement but my experience is that it can be difficult to actually collect on it, especially if the guy left town.

Instead try to sell the junk he has left if it seems to have any value (start a yard sale while you're at the property already, fixing things up).

Then find out his forwarding address and send him a letter that states the amount he owes, the period he has to begin repayment, and that if he doesn't start paying you will forgive him the debt. If you don't have his accurate new address, just mail it to the old address.
Assuming that he does not reply and pay, forgive him the debt and report the forgiven debt as income to the IRS. Yes, your tenant suddenly has unreported income. You may want to make sure to include his social security number with your letter to the IRS.

This will give you the satisfaction that the IRS will hound him for not reporting those $2000 (or whatever he owes you) and you don't even pay anything for this pleasure. You're out of those $2000 anyway.


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Comments:

2009-08-23, 14:57:57
Bill@thelandlorddoctor.com from United States  
rating
Sorry to hear about the mess your tenant left you. A couple questions. Did you have signed lease? Did you keep track of your expenses in fixing the rental?

If the answer to both these questions is yes, you may report the debt to Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. By reporting the tenant debt to all three credit bureaus as a collection account, your previous tenant may have difficulty obtaining credit or another rental. This will greatly increase your chances of collecting the debt.

I hope this helps.

Bill Gray

Bill@thelandlorddoctor.com

www.thelandlorddoctor.com
2015-01-30, 23:53:08
anonymous  
NO NO NO NO.. DON'T DO IT!Ok, I'm a financial adosivr.. so here goes.Your credit card company wont tell you this, but if you are late.. even a day over, they can punch your rate up to 30% or whatever they want. Also, say you pay it on time and they simply don't get it hello 30%. No excuses. You pay.Now you don't want to get stuck with a 30-100k bill at 30%. Now that this horrrible administration has taken out the personal joe's ability to declare bankruptcy and that credit cards are changing minimum payment laws so that minimum payments will be much higher.. I advise you to stear clear of this. Hope that when you get done you can get into a program (they are out there) that will allow you to drop your interest rate by 1% after 24 months of ontime payments and another .25% if you make it auto pay Look, some of the lowest rates you'll see should be on student loan rates. When I went rates were at 8%. That's not so bad..The only reason I'd say to pay it off is if you can secure it to a lower secured credit line like a home equity loan (if rates dump again). But since student loans are federally guaranteed, you should be able to defer or forbear most if you decide to go back to school later, or get that degree you thought you wouldn't need. If you switch this principle amount out of a guarenteed student' loan, that money is no longer eligible for a forbearance or deferance.Good question Hey here's a thought though if you ever plan on having a home of your own.. get a credit card, but KEEP YOUR PRINCIPLE DOWN BELOW 30%.. in other words, if your limit is 1000 bucks, never use more than $330. Why? Because the credit agencies will see you as being desperate for money and will drop your score if you use more than that. Keep in mind that you want to build up your score now so that when you want a good credit card, or low mortgage rate on a home.Good luck!!Jason
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