Question

If I win in small claims court in a landlord-tenant case, will the tenant be legally forced to pay?

I filed a complaint against my tenant for non-payment of rent. We are going to court next week, and I'm fairly certain that the judge will rule in my favor. If he does, will the tenant be required to pay the amount they owe me? Or will I just be in the same situation I am now?

7 years ago - 6 answers

Best Answer

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The judge will issue you a "judgment" if you win. It is then up to you to collect on the judgment. You may have to file a lien against assets they have (a car, or boat or whatever) or garnishee their wages.

7 years ago

Other Answers

that is up to the judge,he is the final say in the matter

by dbf404 - 7 years ago

If the judge rules in your favor then the tenant has to pay or move. He can't be forced to pay you. Unless you want to track him down after he doesn't pay and try to file contempt of court papers on him. The guy has nothing and that's exactly what you'll get. Be happy to get him off your property. Don't change locks or anything and do exactly what the court tells you to do otherwise he may be able to come back on you.

Basically, the judge will rule that he owes you the money. Actually seeing the money is probably another story.

by BARBARA J - 7 years ago

All the judge in a small claims court can do is decide who is obligated to pay. The judge cannot force the tennant to pay you, even if you win.

It will be up to you to collect. For example you may have to file papers to garnish the tenants wages. The small claims decision in you favor will give you the legal right to do that. You may even be able to send the debt to a collection agency. That will have the effect of spoiling the tennant's credit score, but you end up losing some of the money because the collection agency's fee comes out of what they collect.

Here is a site with information about small claims court. It is designed for California residents, but the general information should be helpful, wherever you live.

Source(s)

by Vince M - 7 years ago

You will not be in the same position that you are now, but f you expect the court to rule in your favor, after which they tell your tenant that they should fork over the money in front of the judge that will not happen.

When and if you win in small claims court that simply prove that a judge has agreed that you are legally right in your claim.

Another thing you should remember is that in some states they have a right to appeal the decision of the small claims court.

Now once you have won and you have the judges award decree in your hot little hands,you now can garnish their wages at their place of work. We already know that they do not own any real estate, but if they did or do you can place a lien against any property they own.

In most states you are able to charge annual interest on the balance until they pay you what you are due. In California it is 10%. Check the state in which you reside to find out the interest rate you can charge.

If you do nothing to collect from the tenants check the time that you have to collect in. Each state has a limit in which this ruling is good. In some states it is five years in California it is ten years.
You just have to re-instate it you do not have to go back to court.

I hope this has been of some use to you, good luck.

"FIGHT ON"

by Skip - 7 years ago

It is not up to the Judge or anyone else for that matter. There are no money extracting machines that tenants get tossed in at court.

When you take a tenant to court for non-payment, you get one of two things ... the rent money or posession of the unit (meaning they get evicted and you get to re-rent the unit).

It's very simple ... pay or move. The judge cannot force them to pay, but he or she can force them to move.

In some places, when a landlord wins they get a monetary judgment. Those places are few and far between. In most places the landlord just gets a judgement for posession and if they wish to go ahead with getting a monetary judgment they have to file in either small claims or civil court and have the matter heard and decided there.

Collecting on a judgment is quite another thing. Unless you have current employment info in order to execute on a wage attachment, you can only have the judgment docketed and hope and pray that one day it will be paid off when they try and buy a house or win some money.

by ILoveKeyLimePie - 7 years ago