The amount that the tenant owes you after they have been evicted is known as the “lease deficiency”. This amount typically includes the balance of the unpaid rent, any fines or penalties that were part of the lease before the eviction, and the dollar value of any damage to the property that must be repaired. Unfortunately, those who have been recently evicted are not often cooperative when it comes to any remaining money they owe.
A lawyer can help you collect any money you are owed by a previous tenant. If you are dealing with a tenant who refuses to pay, you can get answers and advice in a private consultation with our lawyers. We’ll be able to tell you if options including wage garnishment are open to you.
How to Collect
To collect lease deficiencies, it is often necessary to go to court. It’s helpful to speak to a lawyer very early in this process, because there are means of attempting to collect on the debt that are both ineffective and illegal. For example, there are laws about when you can seize a deposit or property that has been left in your rental unit. An experienced lawyer on your side means that you don’t risk accidentally violating the law when you make the attempt to recover what you are owed.
An important factor in being able to collect on lease deficiencies is the strength of your screening process. We recommend that all landlords create a screening process that includes a pay slip as a necessary part of the application. When tenants leave your property, they are not as likely to leave their job. When you insist on having a pay slip, it means that you can always track down old tenants through their work addresses. It’s also helpful to have this information if you plan to recover through wage garnishments.
Lease Deficiencies in Situations with No Lease
As far as New Jersey law is concerned, there is no such thing as having no lease. If a document doesn’t exist, whatever verbal agreement the landlord made with the tenant is considered to be an oral lease. Both landlords and tenants maintain their rights and responsibilities without a documented lease, but proving the amount that you are owed can be far more difficult. That’s why we recommend having a strong lease that clearly communicates your tenant’s obligations to pay, and specifies what action can be taken in the case of nonpayment. Our lawyers can help you develop a more comprehensive lease agreement for your rental properties.
Recovering Costs including Damages
If you want to have the best chance of collecting the complete lease deficiency, you need to discuss your situation with a lawyer as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the more difficult it can be to track down previous tenants or to find the evidence needed to prove what they owe. We can help you understand all of your options in a helpful private consultation.