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Can you collect unpaid rent from a tenant after an eviction?

eviction notice on old gate
by Jeff Rohde, posted in Investment Strategy

If you’re a landlord, you may wonder if you can still collect rent from a tenant after an eviction. The answer is yes—but there are things you need to know about the process.

In this blog post, we’ll outline the process for collecting rent from a tenant after an eviction, as well as key issues to consider. 

Key takeaways

  • The first step to collecting rent after an eviction is to send a demand letter asking for the unpaid rent.
  • If the tenant doesn’t pay, you can take them to small claims court.
  • You may also use a collections agency or hire a lawyer.
  • Understand your state’s laws on eviction before proceeding.
  • Consult with an experienced landlord-tenant attorney.

How the eviction process works

The eviction process varies from place to place, so it’s important to understand the specific laws in your locality. In general, though, the process usually involves a few key steps for the landlord:

  1. Give the tenant notice that they are behind on rent and how much they owe. This notice typically gives the tenant a certain number of days to pay the rent or vacate the property.
  2. If the tenant doesn’t pay the rent or leave the property within the specified period, the landlord can file for eviction with the court. The court will set a date for a hearing, and both the landlord and tenant will have a chance to present their case.
  3. If the court rules in favor of the landlord, an eviction order will be issued. This order gives the tenant a certain amount of time to vacate the property. If they don’t do so, law enforcement can be called to remove them from the premises.
  4. After a tenant has been successfully evicted, the landlord will be awarded a judgment against the tenant and can take steps to collect unpaid rent. This may involve working with a collection agency or taking the tenant to small claims court.

Collecting unpaid rent after eviction

To collect unpaid rent from a tenant after an eviction, the landlord must first get a judgment against the tenant. A judgment is a court order that says the tenant owes the landlord a certain amount of money.

There are several steps a landlord can take to collect on a judgment, including:

  • Take the tenant to small claims court or file a civil suit.
  • Ask the court to garnish the tenant’s wages.
  • Put a lien on the tenant’s property.
  • Ask the court to issue a levy against the tenant’s bank account.
  • Sell the tenant’s personal belongings (in some states).

lease agreement

A landlord may wish to work with a collection agency or attorney to collect on a judgment. The process of collecting a judgment for unpaid rent can be long and complicated, but collection agencies and attorneys are experts in this area and may be able to help you get the money you’re owed. They will typically charge a percentage of the total amount owed, plus any court costs and expenses, as their fee for collecting on a judgment for unpaid rent.

In some states, a landlord may also use a tenant’s security deposit to pay for unpaid rent . The legal resource website maintains a list of statutes governing security deposits for each state.

Why having a written lease is important

A written lease is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your property. A written lease sets out the terms of the tenancy, including how much rent is due and when it’s due. It also typically outlines what happens if the tenant doesn’t pay rent on time or violates other provisions of the lease and establishes the landlord’s right to collect rent after an eviction.

Having a written lease gives you a clear legal basis for taking steps to collect rent from a tenant after an eviction. If you don’t have a written lease, it could be more difficult to collect on a judgment for unpaid rent.

Without a written lease, you may be unable to prove that the tenant owes you money. If you’re looking for a customizable lease template, you can download one for free here.

How to track how much rent a tenant owes

There are several ways to track rental income, including using a manual ledger or free rental property management software from Stessa.

Stessa, a Roofstock company, offers free cloud-based software that helps real estate investors maximize profits through smart money management, automated income and expense tracking, personalized reporting, and more.

Stessa was built with the investor in mind to take care of monitoring and analyzing details, so you don’t have to. More than 100,000 investors already use Stessa to track over 250,000 properties with more than $60 billion in asset value.

With Stessa, you can automatically track rental income and create a rent roll to use during an eviction. You’ll also be able to see how much rent is due and when it’s due.

Where to find tenant eviction laws for your state

Eviction laws vary from state to state. To find out what the laws are in your state, contact your state’s attorney general or department of consumer affairs. You can also check your local library for resources on landlord-tenant law.

Several online resources provide information on eviction laws for each state. The website has an extensive section on landlord-tenant law, including a section on evictions. also has a helpful guide to rental and eviction laws by state. Finally, has an interactive map that allows you to click on your state and learn about the eviction laws that apply there.

No matter what state you’re in, you should be familiar with the landlord-tenant laws that apply to you. These laws can help you understand your rights and responsibilities, and they can help you avoid legal trouble when collecting unpaid rent from a tenant after an eviction.

Final thoughts

If you’re a landlord, it’s important to understand the eviction process and your rights when it comes to collecting rent. With careful planning and execution, you can still collect the rent you’re owed even after an eviction.

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