Sometimes in the landlord-tenant relationship, conflicts arise that cannot be resolved easily. In this case, landlords are left with no option but to take the tenant to court. If you have been pondering on taking a tenant to court, here’s what you need to know:
Pros of Going to Court
No doubt filing a lawsuit in court will be a long and tedious process. However, there are many benefits to look forward to:
• Settling out of court
Not many people fancy going to go to court and will do anything to keep away from the hallways. As a landlord, when you sue a tenant, there’s the hope that tenant will get the court summons and opt not to deal with the stress of court matters. With the looming risk of losing, they may cave in and pay the landlord the amount he is requesting, or they can agree to a lesser amount. Another benefit to this is that the tenant wouldn’t risk having their name in court records.
• Receive what you are owed
In some case, going to court is the only way to get a client to pay you what they owe you. Such a situation arises when a tenant doesn’t believe they are required to foot the cost of property damages. It might be nearly impossible to recover this money from them unless a court compels them to pay you.
• Reimbursement for additional damages
Another perk of taking a tenant to court is that in addition to recovering the money owed to you, you can also be reimbursed for additional damages. Such an instance is when a tenant breaks his lease and decides to move out early. In this case, you can take them to court to recover the remaining rent in the lease and potential costs that they incur on you as you find a new tenant to move in.
By suing a tenant in court and winning, you will clear your name as it will clear that you were right.
Cons of Taking a Tenant to Court
• Risk of losing
You are not guaranteed a victory when you sue a tenant. You might slave away on your time, money and energy and end up losing.
• Win but not recover the money
You could go to court, and the tenant gets compelled to pay you the money they owe you. The problem is, you may never recover the money. Even with a judgment against them, the tenant may lead you on a wild goose chase for years as you try to get the money.
Irrespective of whether you lose or win, there are associated costs that you will have to be wary of. For one, there is a court fee that you will pay to file the case. This will see you part with $25 to $50. Also, depending on the magnitude of the case, you may have to seek the services of an attorney, and this can get expensive rapidly.
When you set the ball rolling through a lawsuit, you risk angering the tenant and having them counter-sue you. When this happens, chances are you might lose and end up paying an even more significant amount to the tenant for their attorney’s fees and other damages.
All in all, suing is not the only option to get your money back. An alternative option is to send the tenant a demand letter hoping that it may lead to a payout. The letter may be effective enough and help evade a court battle. If you are looking to have your property managed, look no further. At LAPMG, we offer property management services and leave you to other pursuits. Check us out here.