Owning a rental property has its challenges. A common situation faced by landlords is collecting rent from past tenants in MA. A tenant may have vacated a property, either as scheduled or before schedule, while still owing back rent. Here are some tips that may help if you encounter this situation.
Communicating with Past Tenants
It’s important to have forwarding contact information for all tenants. Without that, it would be difficult to pursue anything either via non-legal or legal channels. Contact your past tenant and attempt to recover the overdue rent. If your tenant is not able to remit payment as a lump sum, consider negotiating some type of payment plan. Even if it takes a little longer to receive what you are owed, working things out amicably can save everyone money and hassle.
Should You File a Lawsuit?
If you are unsuccessful in working things out with your past tenant, then you may need to consider filing a lawsuit. Evaluate the cost of doing so, both in court fees and your time for completing paperwork and appearing in court. For small sums of money, it might simply not make sense to pursue the matter. Instead, write off the expense and move on.
Filing in Small Claims Court
Depending on the amount of the lawsuit, the filing fee will be $100-$150. There are certain forms that you must fill out and steps that you must follow. Refer to our blog about filing a lawsuit in small claims court for additional information.
To improve the chances of collecting rent from past tenants in MA, gather all evidence that you have available on this matter. This includes signed leases, payment history, email correspondence, text messages, voicemails, and history of calls and attempts made. You will need to present a clear case that payment is indeed owed to you, and better yet, that the past tenant has acknowledged that they owe you that money.
Although an attorney is not required for filing a lawsuit against a tenant in small claims court, you may find it helpful to do so, especially if the past tenant has hired one. Rental laws in Massachusetts highly favor tenants. Most landlord-tenant matters are unique, and an attorney can help you figure out how to navigate the rental laws. This can improve your chances of success.
The information in this blog is merely intended as a general overview. It should not be interpreted as legal advice. For legal advice on your particular case, please contact us for a free initial consultation.