Small Claims Case in Texas
Connie from Dallas became a Collect Back Rent Team member in January. Connie was a retired teacher who is a landlord of 9 rental units. She had a tenant move out of her rental owing 2 month’s rent and damages of $2,000. Connie had listened to the hard luck stories and he moved out without notice.
Connie had received $1,000 for security deposit so her first step is to send an itemized statement of where the security deposit dispersed. The security deposit ($1,000) itemized statement she sent the tenant deducted the $1,000 of the damages which left a balance of $1,000 of damages. In the security deposit letter, a Demand Notice was included for $3,000 (rent and damages remaining). Connie sent the itemized statement and demand notice by certified mail with a return receipt.
After 30 days, the former tenant failed to respond so Connie filed a Small Claims case for $3,000 ($2,000 rent, $1,000 damages plus court costs). I suggested to Connie to use a Licensed Process Server to serve the court documents. During this time the defendant had hired an attorney. The Small Claims documents must be served to the defendant and the defendant”s attorney
Note: Connie had never been in a courtroom let alone in front of the Judge. I had several mentoring calls to prepare her for the court hearing, Connie had the “Move-In Checklist” which shows the Judge what the rental looked like when the defendant moved in. She had her state approved lease, security deposit letter, demand notice, proof of service, pictures and receipts of the damages to present. My suggestion was to show one maybe two pictures of each of the damages, receipt when the carpeting was purchased that she replaced. Another tip is to bring a witness to the court hearing when suing for damages. This can be the property manager, handyman or business partner.
Day of court: She presented her case in front of the Judge and the defendant’s attorney perfectly. The defendant’s attorney came with a $2,700 settlement on the $3,000 alleged amount–Connie jumped at it. She couldn’t believe it.
She has already been paid and have gained a mountain of knowledge with confidence. She walked in to the courtroom and beat an attorney! Success story of a landlord that sought out the training and is evolving the ancient landlord profession!