A Money Judgment is necessary to sue the tenant for money damages.
In other words, if you’d like to collect your back rent after an eviction, a money judgement is necessary.
This is often confused with the judgement for possession (failure to pay rent) as part of the Eviction process. Even among attorney’s who do not practice Tenant/Landlord Law very often, it must be clear that these are two separate matters. A money judgement is something a landlord may seek in addition to a typical judgment for possession. In most instances, Rent Court Judges will not issue a money judgement concurrently with the judgement for possession.
How does Collecting money after an Eviction work?
With a money judgment the landlord converts the judgment to a civil case and has a hearing with the tenant in court. This is a procedural legal process. To be most effective we recommend an attorney, particularly if the landlord desires to place a lien on the tenant /garnish their wages. In order to obtain a money judgment, the following must take place.
- The notice must be filed with an attached “Proof of Service”- It cannot be requested after-the-fact.
- Personal service on the tenant must be successful (either by the sheriff or a private process server).
- The judge must grant the money judgment at court.
Now that you’ve won, now what?
After winning your case, your judgment is automatically recorded in the court. Regardless of how you choose to collect your money, there is an automatic 10-day stay before you can begin proceedings to collect. Throughout collection efforts, you must provide the defendant with copies of motions or correspondence that you file with the court.
There are three options available to you to collect your judgment:
• Garnish the defendant’s wages;
• Garnish the defendant’s bank account; or
• Seize the defendant’s personal property or real estate.
To pursue any of these methods, you need some information about the defendant. Do you know where the defendant banks? Do you know where he or she works? Do you know what property the defendant owns?
Refer to the Court FAQ on Wage Garnishment for an overview. More information on the Next Steps in the Money collection after the Eviction process can be found in Maryland District Court form Post Hearing Money Collection.