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Fighting the Garnishment

March 3, 2012

So I’ve posted over the past year about the couple who had the baby and suddenly decided rent wasn’t a priority anymore. We went through so many lies with them and finally had to file an eviction against them when they were didn’t pay a month and a half of rent after giving us notice they were leaving, because obviously the next landlord was getting their deposit and their rent, they were done with us.

Well, we got access to the house and found that the three weeks they were “cleaning” and taking trash out meant they were doing nothing because the house was disgusting – see all the photos here. Then we found out they didn’t pay the water bill the entire time they lived there, which left us with a $2,500 balance. I went to court and got a money judgement against them for $4,500 (everything that was owed minus their deposit) and filed the garnishment paperwork. She has had the same job since they moved in a few years ago, he had a job but lost it and has been unemployed ever since. That’s why they gave us notice they were moving, they simply couldn’t afford the house anymore. That’s fine, I had a very nice conversation with him when he called to tell me, life happens. But then they neglected the water bill and the remainder of rent, and they left us with so much damage and mess and that was just was completely unacceptable.

Anyway, a week ago I received notice that I have to go to court again for these people – and this time, they’re trying to appeal the garnishment! I also got a phone call from a lawyer who tells me they want to pay $1,000 and then set up a payment plan, which I promptly ignored. I was angry all week thinking about this…none of the things we’ve asked for compensation on are unrealistic, they were all things that they should have taken care of. And then I looked at the photos again and really got fired up. The house has since been thoroughly cleaned and rented out to a wonderful woman, and I had completely forgotten just how bad it looked when they left.

Yesterday was our court appointment and their city-appointed lawyer took us back in a room to try to mediate the situation before we went in front of the magistrate. I went in there knowing we weren’t doing anything but getting the garnishment – my dad and I had talked beforehand (he’s the final say, I’m the enforcer…we make a good team) and I didn’t budge.

Their reason for wanting the garnishment gone? It’s embarrassing at work. She should have taken the photos of the way she left the house – that would have been even moreĀ embarrassing. She should also tell everyone at work that this is her second eviction – we took a chance on them and lost. This is all their doing, we’re doing nothing but presenting the facts.

So they wanted to give us $1,000 in cash (“We’ll go to the bank right now and bring it back”) and then set up a payment plan of $300 a month. Right now they’re taking a certain % of her paycheck and they “just can’t live on that.” Oh, and we could afford to pay for all of the mess they left behind and for the water they used for years and didn’t pay for?

They told us they had “no idea” they owed us that money (yet he was there at the money judgement hearing and was told how much they owed, he was standing right next to me…) and they never received notice of the garnishment. I pointed out that the notice was sent to the rental address because they neglected to give us a forwarding address when they skipped out, and I pulled out the post office stamped proof. And I know that they received it, because all of their mail is being forwarded – it never arrived at the house, which I was at daily doing rental showings.

Then he went on to remind me how they always worked out payment arrangements with us after he lost his job and how they always came correct. Yes, we worked with them for over a year…until they gave us notice they were moving and gave us two checks and a money order for the balance due, and both checks bounced. And then they suddenly weren’t answering my emails about the money owed.

I talked with the magistrate to get the details and the lawyer would draw up a contract for us – and if they defaulted, then we could garnish again. So basically it’s throwing out all of my hard work to put the 12 page packet together, send notice to them and their employer, and we’d have to pay over $100 to refile.

Yeah, no thank you.

The magistrate denied their appeal because he told me the court had the first garnishment check waiting to be sent out. Perfect, all of my hard work has already paid off! Money garnishments are the best things about these low-life tenants…we get a check every two weeks from their paycheck, which helps us pay off our bills for whatever they did/left behind.

I got the lawyer’s number and email address and told him I’d have to take it back and see what “the owner” wanted to do, knowing full well I would be denying it. I’ll give them a few days to stew on it before I send it.

I would love to tell these people about the nights that my husband and I had to go take the trash out over at the house on collection night (it took a good 6 weeks to get it all out), the time that was spent cleaning their disgusting mess, the painting that had to be done to cover up what they had done without permission. I would love to tell them about the 6 months of rent we lost out on and had to pay the mortgage out of our own personal money because we’re not looking to get foreclosed on. I would love to tell them about the hours lost doing showings where no one showed up, or only trashy people not worth renting to showed up. I would love to tell them about all of the time and effort I had to put into reworking their statements every month when their checks would bounce, the documentation I had to put together for all of these court appointments, and all of the other *real* work I was ignoring because of their ignorance and disrespect.

They want to tell me about embarrassment – I’ll tell them why they can shove their sob stories up their ass, I have no sympathy for them. I left court feeling very good – I’ve worked hard for this and I’m not going to lose it. Let them sweat something for once, they deserve it!

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