What are my options in collecting a debt owed from an evicted tenant?

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What are my options in collecting a debt owed from an evicted tenant?

I had a tenant that vandalized my home in the process of assaulting his spouse, which cost approximately $2k to repair plus another $2k for rent/storage for two months. He is currently in jail however his father co-signed his lease. What are my options for collecting this debt and can I put lien on the father’s home? And how easily can I take care of this on-line as I am in the military and live outside the US?

Asked on October 11, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can't simply put a lien on anyone's home in a case like this; you have to first sue them and obtain a judgment, which would then serve as the basis for collections efforts (including a lien) if it is not paid. (Other options include garnishing wages or garnishing a bank account.)

If the father is a co-signor on the lease, you can sue him for the tenant's obligations (e.g. rent; to pay for damages; etc.) under the lease. If you are currently overseas, the best way to deal with this is to retain an attorney who can handle this matter for you. If you don't know of any attorneys who work in landlord-tenant law in OK, try contacting the OK state bar association--bar associations provide referrals to lawyers. Good luck.


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