Often times good, hard-working, honest people find themselves in a situation where they struggled to pay their rent. They accumulate back rent, late fees, penalties, and even attorneys fees. When landlords take them to court they thankfully strike a deal to turn over the keys and walk away from the apartment free and clear, or so they thought.
A lot of tenants are surprised when they find out that their landlord has frozen their bank accounts or garnished their wages or even a tax refund, because of a default judgment for unpaid rent. They are scared, panicked, and confused, because they rely on this money to pay bills, credit cards, and other day-to-day expenses. They were under the mistaken impression that the back rent and fees were waived but this is usually not the case.
In order to expedite a landlord-tenant case, a landlord may agree to sever the monetary portion of their claims. This means that the tenant signs an agreement to vacate and leave the apartment. This agreement makes no mention of the back rent. Unless the landlord specifically waives their monetary claims, legally the landlord automatically reserves the right to file a separate civil court lawsuit to recover the back rent and penalties. These fees are can tally up to several thousand dollars.
If the tenant is unaware that the landlord has filed a separate civil court suit after they leave the apartment they may get hit with a default judgment. The judgment then creeps up on the credit report or prevents the tenant from being able to access their bank accounts. The default judgment can also lead to the embarrassment of the garnished wages, and pesky debt collection calls to family, friends, employers, colleagues, and business partners.
In order to resolve this problem a tenant would have to retain an attorney to fight the judgment, getting vacated, and potentially enter an affordable payment plan.
If your bank account or your wages are being garnished as a result of an old landlord-tenant case, please contact the Law Office of Abel L. Pierre, PC today. Call or email us to discuss your case and develop a customized cost-effective solution for you.