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Old 10-10-2012, 10:19 AM
 
7 posts, read 72,692 times
Reputation: 13

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My military tenants moved out and left the place a mess. Carpet ruined, stole the kitchen faucet(weird I know), left tons of trash, left a car battery that ate a hole in the garage floor, the list goes on and on. All in all the damage was over $1400. I have reached out the the Commanding Officer of the tenants what kind of results should I expect after speaking with the CO?
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Old 10-10-2012, 10:45 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,669 posts, read 65,465,910 times
Reputation: 26623
Since you've already contacted the CO then you'll have to wait and see what the response is. If you haven't already done so, take lots of dated photographs of the condition of the vacated unit and, when you start cleaning it up and replacing damaged/stolen items, keep all your receipts. From my understanding you stand an excellent chance of recouping all your losses as CO's don't look at all favorably upon enlisted serviceman who abuse rental properties. Good luck.
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Kailua Kona, HI
3,199 posts, read 12,636,608 times
Reputation: 3411
Treat them as you would any other tenant.
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:58 AM
 
Location: Boise, ID
8,047 posts, read 26,758,296 times
Reputation: 9406
Honestly, I haven't had great luck with collecting from active duty military. I know a lot of people say that military tenants are the easiest to collect from, because all you have to do is contact their CO, but that has not been my experience.

We had one instance where a tenant only lived in a property for 6 weeks, totally trashed the place (after he vacated, we had to replace the 45 day old carpet and repaint the 45 day old paint job, among other things), and we had to evict for nonpayment of the 2nd month's rent. He was locally based, and we contacted him for collection, no response, we contacted his CO for assistance, no response, and we contacted his JAG officer for assitance, no response. I know he really was active duty, also, because there was a news article in the paper one day where the press interviewed him about troops getting deployed, and he was going for his second tour of duty.

We had another instance where a tenant decided to join the military to get out of paying rent. He owed us quite a bit, and just packed up one day and joined the military and moved out. He left the place a disaster area, literally. Needles everywhere, filthy, etc. It was a serious job to clean up, involving hazardous materials and all, over $5000 just in damages, not counting rent. We contacted the local CO and JAG officer, no response. Then he got transferred, and his mother told us where, so we contacted that CO and JAG officer, no response. Then he got transferred again, and his mother told us where again (she rented from us in another unit, and was ticked that he did it to us, so she tried to help), so we contacted THAT CO and JAG officer. Once again, no response. We sent each request in writing, and tried calling a few times as well, and could never get a phone call back either. Our written letters included our phone numbers, mailing address, email address and fax number, so it definitely wasn't that they didn't know where to respond to us at.

My other military tenants have paid their rent on time and left the place in acceptable condition, so these are the only two I have ever tried to collect against, and we never got a dime from either of them. I've come to the conclusion that the military just doesn't care what their people have done in the past.
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Old 10-10-2012, 12:49 PM
 
7 posts, read 72,692 times
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Thanks. I have taken a bunch of photos and have all the receipts. I will let you know what happens.
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Old 10-10-2012, 01:10 PM
 
27,823 posts, read 58,897,057 times
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My only bad experience with military was similar till I contacted a good friend that was a highly decorated retired Navy Commander.

One call from my friend to the that person's Commanding Officer did wonders... sometimes it is who you know.
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:55 PM
 
Location: Kailua Kona, HI
3,199 posts, read 12,636,608 times
Reputation: 3411
I can't tell you how many AF personnel I have served small claims actions on in Las Vegas when I lived there (had a process serving business). Now I'm an Army mom and very much know what they go through but reality is, they still should not trash a property nor skip out on an owner. So, that said, you treat them as any other tenant like I said above. What do you do when other tenants do this? And getting them served is not difficult if if comes to that. I usually tried to call them if I had their number and told them, listen I have a small claims for you, I can meet you off base or I can go thru Legal, which would you prefer?
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Old 10-14-2012, 01:24 AM
 
Location: San Diego
774 posts, read 1,599,640 times
Reputation: 460
Bad advice. At least in some states, trying to collect a debt owed to you makes you a "debt collector", under federal law. The latter prohibits you (debt collector) from discussing the debt with third parties, among many other restrictions. I believe it's up to $1000 per violation (say, phone call). If you create problems for someone at work, you'll likely be liable for a whole lot more, regardless of where you live. If you use your buddy, who's a senior officer, to make some serviceman pay you then, depending on a lot of things, it may even be a felony (extortion).
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Old 10-14-2012, 06:29 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,669 posts, read 65,465,910 times
Reputation: 26623
Quote:
Originally Posted by max.b View Post
Bad advice. At least in some states, trying to collect a debt owed to you makes you a "debt collector", under federal law. The latter prohibits you (debt collector) from discussing the debt with third parties, among many other restrictions. I believe it's up to $1000 per violation (say, phone call). If you create problems for someone at work, you'll likely be liable for a whole lot more, regardless of where you live. If you use your buddy, who's a senior officer, to make some serviceman pay you then, depending on a lot of things, it may even be a felony (extortion).
There's nothing illegal about contacting a military serviceman's CO prior to instituting civil proceedings in small claims court. A major component of "extortion" is the use of threats. As far as serving papers on any tenant it's inadvisable for any lay person to attempt this. The charge for serving is minimal through the court itself in most cases, while not overly expensive if you decide to hire a professional server. It's simply something you leave up to bonded professionals who know what they're doing.
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Old 10-14-2012, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Fayetteville, NC
1,490 posts, read 5,670,368 times
Reputation: 1604
The CO can't force a service member to pay anything. I had that problem with my troops when I was filling for the First Sergeant. We were told to turn away any bill collectors. Military folks can get in trouble for financial irresponsibility but it usually when they start bouncing checks. Treat them like any other tenant,
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