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

UPDATED: Oct 11, 2011

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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