What are my next steps to collect on back rent if my tenant has moved?

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What are my next steps to collect on back rent if my tenant has moved?

I had a tenant who owed back rent, sign a promissory note saying they would pay. Now he has moved out without notice.

Asked on May 3, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) If you haven't returned the security deposit yet, you may take any amounts owed as back rent out of it.

2) If you have returned the deposit, or if it's inadequate to cover what you're owed, you can sue the tenant. For smaller amounts, you can sue on the lease in small claims court--faster, smaller fees, no need for an attorney.  For larger amounts, you'd sue in municipal or state court. Go to your local courts' website or call the clerk to check the jurisdictional limit--i.e. how much you can sue for--in small claims court. Note that if the tenant has little or no money, however, even if you win, it may be difficult or impossible to collect.


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