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Posted: 9/14/2004 12:48:12 PM EDT
We evicted a college kid from our house in Denver. He was literally trashing the place. Unpaid bills and damage came to around $3000. He has no job and we have no idea where he went. Is it worth taking him to small claims court? Or should we just write it off? I think we are going to go to a lot of trouble and never see it. We live in NC now. We have already "billed" him twice with no response, we know where his mother lives.
Link Posted: 9/14/2004 12:53:32 PM EDT

I would ,if for nothing else the experience. I filed on this lady I bought a house from for $1500 for lying on the disclosure form that she did have a termite contract when she if fact did not. She didn't want to wast the time so she wrote me a check for $1200 and I dropped it after the check cleared.

Teach the little punk that actions have consequences. Who knows, it may come back and bite him. also, report him to the credit agency. When he wants to get a loan for a new car, he'll remember you when he doesn't get the 3.9% rate and gets 18% !!!! He'll come back then willing to pay so you will remove the bad report.
Link Posted: 9/14/2004 12:57:05 PM EDT
Well, unless you think this kid is gonna be a politician you can blackmail some day, I doubt it will do you much good.

Yes, you can take him to small claims court. But you have to serve him. How can you do this if he is gone?

Assuming you can serve him or go to court anyway, you might win or not. But if you do, all that gets you is a judgement. The court does not collect for you.

Unless he is local so you can monitor his life and get restitution in future I don't see it happening.

Unless his mother signed some part of the rental agreement she is legally clear. Do you think she will pay his expenses out of an ethical desire? If so, send her a bill too. For that matter, send her one anyway as maybe she will read him the riot act to make good. I doubt it, but it only costs a stamp.

I hate to say it but if the kid is not local to you your costs will probably never be recovered if you take him to court. Maybe someone else can weigh in with more hope.

Link Posted: 9/14/2004 1:00:38 PM EDT
Probably not worth it. Cut your losses and screen your applicants better.
Link Posted: 9/14/2004 1:08:14 PM EDT
It's only worth if you you know where he is, or you got his parents to sign and you know where they are (and in either case they are in-state)
Link Posted: 9/14/2004 1:14:39 PM EDT
Sounds like he is probably judgement proof.

If you win a judgement you'll have to pay someone to find him and any new job he has so that you can levy.

College kid might not care about his credit and probably won't reside in your county after he's done with school. In AZ your judgement from small claims has to converted to a court of record (superior) before it can be recorded with the county recorder.

Might be able to write it off the damage and issue a 1099 to him. Check with your CPA. That could piss him off.

Just stuff to think about.
Link Posted: 9/14/2004 1:55:40 PM EDT
Unless he has titled property (car or home) you will never see the money. And the debt goes away after 10 years (at least here it does).

About 4 years ago I sued a woman who ripped me off for $2000 in a private used car deal. I won the suit, but I have still not seen a nickle of my two grand. And I probably won't.
Link Posted: 9/14/2004 2:14:47 PM EDT
You'll have to do it in Denver which will be a major inconvience unless you have someone else to do the footwork. If you get his parents somehow to fork it over, would be the best. Here in Texas you can get a judgement easy enough for like a hundred dollars in fees and a couple trips to the small claims court. You have to consider your time.

But if he has nothing then you can't get anything from him. He can have a car but if he uses it to get to work you can't take it. In Texas its spelled out down to the number of cows and sheep and tv's they can keep. Don't know about Colorado.

I hate to say this but you got a hard row to hoe. Consider turning it over to a collection agency for collection. If they got only half for you it would be great. He can be tracked through the school more than likely.
Link Posted: 9/15/2004 4:45:03 AM EDT
Thanks guys. You are teling me what I was thinking. He had a car. He was involved in a DUI hit and run on the street that the house is on. He was able to get his car into the garage after the incident. The police just followed the oil slick to the house. The police had been called to the house many times for domestic disturbances. Apparently he has a girlfriend that is his partner in crime. My neighbors finally called us here in NC to tell us what was going on. And yes, we are doing a much better job now of screening.
Link Posted: 9/15/2004 4:47:08 AM EDT
I didnt bother with it after someone who was uninsured hit my car, it wasnt worth it for $300
Link Posted: 9/15/2004 6:47:16 AM EDT
I'd file one...very easy here in MD, but the limit on small claims is only $2,000 or so. Costs about $18 to file the case and the judges are pretty helpful. Lots of people never even show up so you can ask for summary judgement. Bring lots of evidence and if possible witnesses.

Link Posted: 9/15/2004 7:15:44 AM EDT
The biggest problem you may have is that you will likely be required to sue in either defendant's home county or the county in which the rental property was located. If your dealings with this person had nothing to do with NC, you won't be able to get jurisdiction ofver him there unless he is living there, in all likelihood. In what State and county does the Defendant reside? Are you prepared to return to Dencer to pursue litigation on this matter? If you have absolutely no idea where the Defendant is, you can try to get information from the parents or you can use a search service like accurint.com to try to find the guy. Finding and serving a Defendant are not so difficult if you are persistent.
Link Posted: 9/15/2004 7:18:37 AM EDT
If you can serve him it's definitely worth going to small claims court!

It takes only a few hours of your time. If the kid doesn't show up you will get a default judgement in your favor. If he does, you'll probably win.

The worst thing that can happen is you are unable to collect, and are out the filing fee (which the loser may be liable to you for as well as service costs).

Go for it! I've successfully sued in small claims three times and collected every time. I got sued once and won that one too.
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