How to sue a tenant for monetary damages


Attorney Tom Olsen: Let's go to Janet in Orlando. Janet, you're on News Talk WDBO, go ahead. 

Janet: Yes. My question is, I had a tenant that lived there in my rental property for four months, non-payment, I took them to court. How long does it - if I can take him to small claims court - to collect my money?

Attorney Tom Olsen: Well, step number one is -- first of all, did you go through a legal eviction process to evict your tenant? 

Janet: Yes sir.

Attorney Tom Olsen: So when you evict a tenant, there are two parts to that eviction lawsuit. Number one is, asking the judge to get a court order to kick them out of your house. And then part two is going back, at a later date, and proving to the judge what your damages are, unpaid rent, damages to your property, what it cost you to find a new tenant, and get a judgement against that tenant, a piece of paper that says they owe you money and then you go out and you try and collect it as best you can. So Janet, have you gotten a judgement against your tenant yet?

Janet: Not yet. 

Attorney Tom Olsen: Okay.

Attorney Tom Olsen: With all that said, Janet, what is your question to me?

Janet: Okay, my question is, so I have to take him to small claims court to collect my money when I get a judgement?

Attorney Tom Olsen: You're confusing me now Janet. Because you've already started a legal action against them to evict them, you just need to proceed with part B of that legal action to get a judgement against them.

Janet: Okay. All right.

Attorney Tom Olsen: All right. I'm glad you're clear, because I'm sure not clear on what we're talking about here, Janet, now. But Janet, here, I will tell you this good news, okay? Rob Solomon is the attorney at my office that does landlord-tenant work. If you're still confused, because you got me a little bit confused, you can hang up the phone with me, you can call my office right now at 407-423-5561 and ask for attorney Rob Solomon. He's the attorney at our office that does landlord-tenant work.