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Pennsylvania - how to claim the judgement of back rents?

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  • Pennsylvania - how to claim the judgement of back rents?

    Hi, My former tenant was just evicted today. I had to file a landlord tenant complaint, and the judge granted me possession of the house as well as over 6 months of back rents. Tenant refused to move 10 days after judgement. So I had to go back to court and file "Order of possession", which I did. That lead to this morning's eviction.

    She refused to leave a contact address. For me to collect on the back rent, I would have to go back to court EXCEPT I don't have a current address which the court needs to serve the papers on the tenant. Any advice on how I can find her current address WITHOUT spending more money. She left me broke and I still have to fix up the house before I can rent it again.

    In your experience, should I just kiss the back rent good bye?

    Thank you for any advice you can provide.

  • #2
    You could seek out a collection agency that will take the debt on a contingency basis-that is, they will charge only a percentage of what they recover. If they don't get any money out of her, you owe nothing. They usually have experienced skip tracers. Barring that, you will probably spend, if not money, time trying to track her down on your own.

    This company appears to offer this service: (Note: I have no affiliation or experience with this company, I just did some quick googleing) http://www.rentrecoveryservice.com/

    Comment


    • #3
      Collecting back rent is a royal pain in PA....basically PA does not allow for wage garnishments so you need to find assets to levy against ....and if the tenant has few assets or accounts....its most daunting.

      I'm not sure why you need to serve tenant again if you got a judgement for $XXX....you sort pf wait out the appeals period and take an offical copy of your judgement (w seal) to county courthouse and get it recorded ( for a minor fee )

      If tenant commutes to NJ ..and some do from Ambler , well you can garnish in NJ.

      Comment


      • #4
        judgement for monetary damages

        Originally posted by HRinDEVON View Post
        Collecting back rent is a royal pain in PA....basically PA does not allow for wage garnishments so you need to find assets to levy against ....and if the tenant has few assets or accounts....its most daunting.

        I'm not sure why you need to serve tenant again if you got a judgement for $XXX....you sort pf wait out the appeals period and take an offical copy of your judgement (w seal) to county courthouse and get it recorded ( for a minor fee )

        If tenant commutes to NJ ..and some do from Ambler , well you can garnish in NJ.
        According to the timeline papers the court gave me, I have to file Order of Execution with the Magisterial District Judge 31 days after the judgement, and they can levy against asset as well as garnish wages (I think this is what the clerk told me). However, they need her address to serve the paper. I think she understands the system much more than I do, because she moved out exactly one week before this deadline!

        Comment


        • #5
          Unbelievable - the tenant also owe Peco

          Just got a notice from Peco posted to the door that she owes over $5000!! Unbelievable.

          Comment


          • #6
            Probably correct.....a writ of execution cannot be filed until appeal runs out..31 days .

            And it needs to be served by constable or sheriff which sort of means they need to find person..and reach out and touch property so as to levy.

            But I doubt it covers wages and it is full of exemptions

            I think constable gets a commission on constable,sales...so they wo t work hard to chase an empty pot but may if there is a pot to levy...

            Comment


            • #7
              If you are dealing with a professional deadbeat its unlikely you can find and squeeze anything out .....
              Me, Id file the judgement at county courthouse ...and remember to renew it before it runs out ...Imdprget the time frame ....in a very few cases Ive had a person that needs to clear an old judgement to buy something important and I get paid ..but it's rare . never had any luck with levy and sale of tenant 's possessions ...and cars " disappear"

              Going forward, be 10 X more careful about checking just about everything and staying on top if tenant is late ...And saying no if things don't smell just right ...an empty unit is far easier to address than one with a certified deadbeat in possession....

              Comment


              • #8
                The bad part with a judgment is that is much easier to get one than to collect on it. Good luck.
                Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by HRinDEVON View Post
                  If you are dealing with a professional deadbeat its unlikely you can find and squeeze anything out .....
                  Me, Id file the judgement at county courthouse ...and remember to renew it before it runs out ...Imdprget the time frame ....in a very few cases Ive had a person that needs to clear an old judgement to buy something important and I get paid ..but it's rare . never had any luck with levy and sale of tenant 's possessions ...and cars " disappear"

                  Going forward, be 10 X more careful about checking just about everything and staying on top if tenant is late ...And saying no if things don't smell just right ...an empty unit is far easier to address than one with a certified deadbeat in possession....
                  I am dealing with a professional dead beat. She has done this to other landlords. I found out during the court process. Also, she left half of her stuff behind for me to dispose of (via e-mail claiming they are all trash)!

                  When you said "file the judgement at county courthouse" what does that mean? Is that the same as going to Prothonotary Office? Because that is where they are telling me to go.

                  You are right on 10X more careful going forward. I fell for the single mom with 2 kids (and an young adult) sob story. When she started falling behind on rent and I was ready to start legal action, she told me her son (who happens to be the same age as my son) tried to commit suicide, etc.

                  What service do you use to screen your potential tenant? I need to find a better one

                  Thank you for taking the time to respond.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yep, same place , courthouse....you will need an offical copy of DJ award ..not the copy sent to you ..and there is a minor fee to record..cash only no checks at most courthouses .

                    I never found a check out service I liked ...did my own digging ...made a few mistakes ..but few...if I Could not get a check with prior LL to,current one , who may have incentive to lie to get rid of deadbeat, I moved on, ditto if I could not verify 2 years of employment history, probably should have insisted on credit report/history ...and one time a prospect smelled too good to be true ..I personally searched courthouse records..and found one big pile of problems and avoided that one .....there are some services in PA that report to make thorough history checks... I just don't know enough to recommend one . .

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                    • #11
                      PS ..PA requires that you make storage arrangements for a tenants stuff....lest you get snookered by a dirtball claiming you trashed her valuable stuff...Id have a very safe copy of her instruction to trash her trash and perhaps some good safe pictures of her trash ......

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My company is property management. We run a criminal check on any adults living in an apartment and also require financial documents to prove they can afford the rent. Also it is best to be strict about deadlines and not fall for the "need a little time". We post "notice to quit" letters whenever a resident falls to pay without the allowable time. I know in some states it is 3 days but not sure about PA.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Find if your state does Judgment Debtor Exams. It allows you to serve the defendant, have them come to court, and you get to question them on their assets and income. It also allows you to collect any cash carried on the defendant as well as expensive items like jewelry and watches. (at least that what happens in my state). If the defendant refuses to turn over cash on her or other valuable items she's carrying, the bailiff can arrest her. I would think (but verify it) that service to the last known address via mail would suffice, although again, your state may be different. Also check the post office for a forwarding address. Good luck.
                          I am not an attorney, and don't play one on TV. Any information given is a description only and should be verified by your attorney.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Here is a link you might want to read for educational/informational purposes.

                            http://pghfirm.com/pennsylvania-debt...-pennsylvania/
                            Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                            Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                            Comment

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