How To Find An Old Tenant To Garnish Wages For Late Rent

Updated: Apr 16

Be smart about your future tenants! Many landlords and property managers rely on thin credit reports, references from prior residences, or a face-to-face meeting during the application stages as their primary check on a new tenant. Having a thorough background check done will shed light on the future tenant of your property really is—saving you time and money!

Finding an old tenant is a process that many property owners experience at one point or another. It can result from an evicted tenant, a vacated lease, or you want to speak with someone who used to live in a property. If you've never had to go through the process of identifying an old tenant, you might feel a bit lost. You can start by speaking with your managing agent. The Tenancy Database will also help you find whom you are looking for and if they are still in the same postcode.

If you find an old tenant, it is vital that you seek legal advice before taking further action, as this will prevent you from losing money or facing legal action.

Understanding Rent

Rent is a lease agreement between a landlord and the tenant. It either allows or forbids the landlord to collect rent from the tenant. The term usually refers to money paid regularly in return for permission from a landlord to occupy and use their land or property. The amount of rent and duration of a lease is usually specified in the written lease, which may be oral or written. There are also tenancy agreements in existence where no continuous "rent" is paid. If it includes a clause for eviction, then this is called a lease-option rental contract. It would help if you were careful when renting out the premises that you are not violating any laws, so it is always advisable to seek legal advice before entering into any such agreements. The contract must specifically spell out the terms and conditions of possession and use, so there are no loopholes left later on.

Rent Defaulting

Are you finding that your tenants are not paying their rent? Are your tenants defaulting on their obligations to pay rent on time? Then it would be best if you took immediate legal action to initiate eviction proceedings. Tenants in the U.S. don't always pay rent on time, and sometimes tenants default rent in the U.S. Landlords typically find it stressful dealing with late or missed rental payments. Still, things can't spiral out of control if you know How to Collect Late Rent or Eviction for Non-Payment of Rent" and other ways to get tenants to pay rent.

Filing a garnishment

The first step in investigating past tenants is to file a garnishment on rent arrears at the local clerk's county office. A garnishment is an act of enforcing a court order by placing a lien or encumbrance on the property. This happens even if you have paid the judgment amount. A recording fee usually needs to be paid first to start the garnishment.

A quick check of the county clerk records at the magistrate court for your county will tell you if there is a current filing to garnish tenants or a previous tenant. If a creditor is trying to garnish rent payments, they must first file a Notice of Intention to Garnish with the court. A tenant does not have to pay off the judgment debt until after this filing has been satisfied. The debtor or landlord must be served with an original and a copy of the court action and be allowed to respond before any garnishment occurs.

How to find a past tenant?

Finding a past tenant is a challenging affair. Even if you wanted to send them a letter, how do you know where they are now? Below are a few ways to find past tenants that have garnered positive results to landlords before. Contacting the former landlord, employer, or bank the first thing to do is to contact their former landlord and see if they gave the tenant a forwarding address when they moved out. Keep in mind; there is no guarantee that your former tenant will respond or answer your questions. Be sure to find out precisely who they rented from and their name to confirm that you are talking with the correct information. Some people do not post their names and only use an email address for communication, so be sure to get as much contact information as possible.

A past tenant may still live in your house, and a reference check from them could save you future problems. One of the best ways to find a past tenant is to contact the bank they used for a mortgage. If they are not at that address, then you might be able to track them down through employment records at their last known employer.

  • Using is the leading site for rental properties in thousands of cities nationwide. map makes it easy to find previous tenants in your neighborhood and across the country. Email addresses, phone numbers, or addresses for ANY American! In 2012 teamed up with census records to create the next generation search engine for finding ANY American! Using residential and commercial records aggregate by state, we have created a NEXT-GENERATION search engine to locate anyone in the U.S.

This search ravages over 3 billion public records from states, counties, and cities nationwide. Find the full name, current and past addresses using a reverse address lookup, phone number lookup, and more. Anyone can benefit from a membership.

  • Hiring a private investigator

Whether you're hiring a private investigator to find an old tenant's new address or find the person who owes you money, a P.I. can help. Private investigators work for individuals and businesses that need information on a past or current employee, customer, or client who is not cooperating in order to satisfy a debt owed.

A private investigator can uncover the identity and whereabouts of a tenant served with a notice to vacate. These investigators have access to databases and other means that are not publicly available. A computer-based investigative tool used by licensed P. I.s to quickly find an address is called a skip tracer.

  • Using USPS

It can take a lot of work to find a past tenant's address. You could go to the courthouse and look through hundreds of people by hand, and you could hire a private investigator at a high cost or do it the easy way with USPS. The USPS website has an API that gives you access to billions of addresses for less than $2. All you need is your current tenant information (full name, social security number, address), and our API will return all available headers and address packages associated with the provided information for the past year.

Preventive measures for rent defaults

When you are looking for your ideal tenant, it is essential to investigate past tenants. It's also necessary when performing a background check to know about past addresses and legal names.

Running Intellius checks

An Intellius check is an investigative report that provides information on a person's reputation and habits. The Intellius check costs $34.95, which includes unlimited inquiries for the life of your subscription. The process involves searching public records and information that is published online by individuals for free.

For example, a background criminal check searches courthouse records in all 50 states and will provide information on arrests and convictions. The search results can then be filtered based on criteria such as age or additional details to narrow down the results further. When checking for civil judgments, the search can be filtered based on a court location, the name of the prosecutor, judge, and attorney.

Real estate companies make it easy to find out anything you want about past tenants. This includes hearings, evictions, and criminal information. This means you can avoid renting from problem renters and find a good fit before signing a lease. This is a significant step in leasing a property. Checks should be done on past tenants. An Intellius check is a simple way to see if there are any serious problems with a rental applicant.


The time to investigate past tenants is not when the rent defaults. It is a considerable risk to rent out your property while lacking information about the tenant's current and previous financial status and the sordid details of their past rental history. That is why doing a bit of research before you sign your name on the dotted line could be a big boost to your investment portfolio.

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