Do I need a collections lawyer to collect a judgement in the amount of $3000 awarded to me as a result of evicting a tenant about 7 months ago?

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Do I need a collections lawyer to collect a judgement in the amount of $3000 awarded to me as a result of evicting a tenant about 7 months ago?

I got a tenant evicted on non-payment of rent. She did not show up and I was granted a default judgement for 2 months rent in the amount of $2990. What are my options to recover the funds? I am willing to hire a collections specialist lawyer.

Asked on June 7, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There are many attorneys that specialize in debt collection.  Depending on your agreement with the attorney, they will either keep a portion of the $3000.00 award, or they will bill the tenant for his fee (if your rental contract authorized the imposition of the fee.)  If you don't want to necessarily hiring the attorney for enforcement actions, you may want to consider just hire him/her to send a demand letter.  Many tenants will be motivated after getting an attorney letter.   Another option, especially if you are going to stay in the leasing business, is to develop a relationship with a collection agency that specialized is debt collection for landlords.  They often track tenants who move on to the next landlord- and continue with demand notification letters.  They will also report the delinquent amounts for you on the tenant's credit history as an additional motivation for the tenant to pay what they due.  Each option has its own advantage.  An attorney can file a subsequent suit to enforce.  Collection agencies can't file legal action, but tend to be able to find dead-beat tenants a little better.  They also tend to work on commission which is often cheaper for landlords.  If you can find a combo-- and attorney that runs a regular collection program in your area, you would get the best of both worlds.


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