Tenants who move out without notice may leave property owners with a big bill for repairs or back rent. As tenants who skip on the rent do not want to be found, it may be difficult to track them down to ask for payment or serve them a court order to appear in small claims court. There are ways to track down former tenants if need be, and using court records can help. Here are the steps for using court records to find former tenants.

Collect Information
As a landlord, property owners have a lot of information about their tenants on file. Collecting information including known addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, and employers will help when conducting a public records search. The lease agreement is likely to contain much of this information, so it is a good idea to have it on hand. If a credit check was completed when the tenants move in, the results from this check may contain information about the tenant's current and past employers that can be used to facilitate the search.

Go Through Jurisdictions
Figure out which jurisdictions the tenant has lived in recently to narrow down the search. Searching through court records can be tedious, as each different jurisdiction may have its own file to sort through. County court systems are likely to have a link to public records on their websites, so be sure to start with these files first. Searching the tenant's name may come up with results, but it is also important to use any known aliases for a more thorough search. Alternate names for the tenant can be found on a credit record.

Use Online Court Record Searches
There are also websites available that allow property owners to search through general court records for a broader search. While these websites may ask users to pay a fee for expanded information, the general information that is provided for free is often enough to track down a tenant. Information about current or former cities can help property owners hone their search in order to file a lawsuit against tenants who owe them money.

Call Court Systems
Counties or cities that are small may not have an easy-to-navigate public record archive online. When working with these areas, it may be necessary to contact the court system directly. A clerk may be able to verify whether there are court records on file, but it may be necessary to go to the location of the archives in order to actually look through records and navigate to the information that is needed to figure out where a former tenant lives or works.

Search Government Records
The U.S. Government website offers a plethora of resources that can help property owners search public records in order to figure out where a former tenant may be now. Birth certificates, marriage licenses, business filing, and more can be searched through this website in order to narrow down the possibilities when money is on the line.

Being left holding the bill when tenants skip rent and leave a property damaged is a frustrating experience that can make property owners feel helpless. Fortunately, there are ways of tracking down former tenants to file a lawsuit in order to recoup losses. The best way to accomplish this goal is to look through public records to figure out where tenants have lived in the past and where they may be living today based on this information.

POSTED March 23 2015 12:31 PM

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