•  Did your tenant skip out owing you rent?   
  • Did they cause so much damage to your unit that it cost thousands to repair?  
  • Were you so relieved to finally get rid of them that you wrote off the debt as bad luck?  
  • Did you evict a tenant, get a money judgment and just put it in a drawer deeming it worthless?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, AOA has the service for you!  It’s time for you to pull out those judgments and take action. 

Taking a few minutes to report these debts may just put that money back in your pocket or save a fellow landlord from renting to that nightmare of a tenant. 

Hold Your Tenants Accountable

There are many “professional tenants” out there just waiting for the unsuspecting, trusting landlord who doesn’t perform due diligence by requesting credit, eviction and criminal reports. And even if you do request reports, they send silent words of thanks to their prior landlords who never reported them to credit bureaus.

Some turnover costs are a part of our business, however, damages to your unit by the tenant and rent owed to you are not! Any damages above wear and tear beyond your security deposit are due to you and you have the right to demand them, just be sure to have all receipts to prove the debt.  As a professional landlord, you should never write off monies owed to you or allow that tenant the luxury of no consequences.

By not reporting problem tenants, you are doing your fellow colleagues a disservice as someone else is sure to get stuck with them when they read credit reports that don’t reflect the tenant’s debt to you.

Tenants need to be made aware that there will be consequences and they will be held accountable for their actions. When tenants know this in advance, we greatly increase the chances that they will not be­come a problem tenant and repeat offender. Let them know you mean business!  Inform them that it is your policy to notify local and national credit bureaus of any negative performance.  Any unpaid rent or monetary damages to the apartment will be put on their credit reports and made available to potential employers, banks, landlords, mortgage companies, car dealerships or any other company they may want to do business with in the future.  Let them know that the reputation they establish with you will follow them for many years.

Problem tenants, who are not held accountable for their actions and “get away” with breaking leases, causing damage and living rent-free in your unit most likely, become repeat offenders – unless there is a price to pay.  Only you can set that price!   

What Can You Do?

Start out by reporting prior tenants who owe you money to AOA’s debt reporting/collection service.  We will help to collect the money owed to you providing: 

  • Your tenant has already moved out, left damages that exceeded their security deposit or owe you unpaid rent 
  • You received a money judgment from an eviction. 
  • The debt is not more than four years old 

Having a money judgment is always best because the former tenant cannot dispute it, however, if you don’t have one ….AOA can still help!  

Here’s How it Works

For a low-cost, one-time flat fee of $11.95 per person reported:  

  • A letter is sent to your delinquent ex-tenant requesting that they pay the outstanding debt in full. 
  • In that letter, they are informed that a negative credit reflecting on their credit report will be submitted to the top three national credit reporting agencies if they fail to pay. 
  • If they don’t pay the debt, or dispute it within 30 days, as part of the service, they will be reported to TransUnion Experian and Equifax. 
  • The tenant has the opportunity to pay the debt to you in full, during the first 120 days. 
  • If after 120 days, they haven’t paid the debt to you, it will automatically roll over to a contingency plan at the low rate of only 38%! You will receive 62% on any money paid by the debtor! Keep in mind that 100% of nothing is still nothing! It really is a win-win situation. 
  • Our exclusive collection agency will start to work diligently to recover the debt on your behalf. (Tracking them down, making phone calls, etc.) 
  • Your ex-tenant will be forced to pay the debt or continue to be reported to all three credit bureaus. 

It’s Easy to Report

AOA members can easily report their debts one of the following ways: 

  • Go to AOA’s web site at www.aoausa.com and log in to the “members only” area and complete the form under the Report Debtors tab or 
  • Download form #142 which is conveniently located in the forms section of the AOA web site and mail it with $11.95 for each person reported to AOA Debt Reporting at 6445 Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 300, Van Nuys, CA 91411.   

Make a Commitment

Make the commitment to yourself and other fellow landlords to report your bad tenant debts to AOA as soon as they have moved out!  If we all work together, we can lower the chances that someone will get stuck with your bad tenant or you will get stuck with theirs.

Now … go pull out every Security Deposit Refund letter you have mailed where the tenant owes you money and every money judgment you currently have stuffed in your files that are not more than four years old.  Fill out the debt reporting forms and send them in to AOA today!   Doing so will increase your chances of them collecting more than just dust! 

Patricia A. Harris is Senior Editor of the Apartment Owners News & Buyers Guide.   This article is a general guide and has no legal representation.  It is suggested that you contact an attorney for legal advice should the need present itself.

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