- Small Claims
Can a judgement against me in civil case garnish my wages in Texas?
My ex-landlord took me to court when I broke our lease, by moving out early so I could purchase a home. Anyway - while waiting for the courtdate (which never came) I received a letter stating that the judgement had already been made in HIS favor. So my concern in now that the judgement has been made - how far can he go to collect his $5K? Can he garnish my paychecks? My bank account? I'm really scared that my paychecks will get garnished, then I'll be forced into foreclosure.
Originally Posted by ladydiane
There are different "rules" in different States. What State? In the majority of States the creditor can use any legal method to collect - garnishment, bank liens, property liens.
My problem is how the landlord got a Judgment against you if you wwere never served - ?
You COULD apply to get the Judgment set aside on the grounds that you were never served. However, if you then were served (or re-served) the landlord could simply get a second, replacement Judgment.
Unfortunately a lease is a contract and it would appear you broke the terms of a contract so you are liable.
This is in TEXAS and although I did break the lease, I did get someone to sub-lease the home. He has not gone without rental payments. He is trying to get me to pay for crappy carpet - which was stained when I got there - I steamcleaned and never made ANY stains and I have affidavits from the other homeowners to that effect, but never got my say so in court. Plus I did landscaping for him and overall improved the property. He has about 30 lawsuits on record -its apparent that this is a hobby for him.
I did get served - but there was no court date - so I was waiting for a letter from the court with a date to plea my side.
My concern in that they will be able to garnish my wages... which would devastate me financially - there has to be something to file which would not allow them to do that if I would cause extreme hardship - or does that not matter in Texas??
Originally Posted by ladydiane
Sorry - I should have read more closely. You stated right up front that you're in Texas.:)
Hardship or inability to pay are not defenses to a debt.
BUT if he did not lose any money due to your early departure he cannot collect on the unpaid months of your lease. The landscaping and upgrades only matter if you had an agreement with him - either that he would pay you or take fair dollar off your rent.
Do you have photos of the carpet when you moved in? He cannot charge you for ordinary wear and tear.
A Court Summons would have a date on it, the date of the hearing. I have no idea what you were served with.
Here is Texas law concering garnishment: "The Texas Constitution makes current wages "exempt" property. There are exceptions, however, for child support, student loans and certain taxes. In other words, the average creditor who sues you and gets a judgment may not garnish your wages. (I also should point out that a threat by a debt collector to garnish your wages, when he has no legal right to do so, probably violates the Federal Debt Collection Act.)"
Ok - I like that last paragraph - so do I not need to totally freak out and worry that he can garnish my paychecks here in Texas? What about my direct deposit to my bank account - can he touch that??
I wish I had my day in court, cause I am sure that I would have been able to make a clear case but NO we do not have any BEFORE of AFTER pictures, so how can HE prove it, right?
I'm quoting myself here (how strange is that).
"Texas does NOT allow wage garnishment for consumer debt so your salary is safe; they CAN place a lien on your home; Texas DOES allow levy of bank accounts, seizure and sale of non exempt property and liens against real property although a sale of a PRIMARY residence cannot be forced and the lien just basically sits there until satisfied or the proeprty is sold.
Texas is a community property state - some joint marital property can be seized, levied or liened when only one spouse is the debtor."
Your landlord would need some pretty compelling proof concerning claimed damage to the carpeting.
Homestead your house and he won't be able to touch it.
Stop your direct deposit as wages stop being wages once it hits a bank account.
I have a similar situation, I recently moved from Ga. To Texas. I was a model tenant, was never late once, told them I was leaving, paid rent for the entire month. I left as of the 10th day of the month, plus left them with about $100 bucks of credit towards my utitlities. I am a Fedral Employee and had to move for work. Then they try to tell me the place was trashed and they had to spend all this money on things such as replacing the carpet and repainting. I was there for 4 years. The place was not trashed. Nothing beyond normal wear and tear.
I have experience in trying to collect on judgements since I have been a landlord and have a drawer full, it is really hard to do. So what are the chances they will try to garnish my wages, especially if they re-rent the property. I'm thinking they are waisting there time pretty much?
The new question by Golfsallot doesn't really need an answer: the previous answers make clear that garnishment doesn't seem to be an option in Texas.
But the original question (I realize it is out-of-date) invites comment. I would bet that the reason a judgment was entered against the OP is that he/she failed to answer the complaint, stupidly (Sorry, but facts are facts.) waiting a "court date".
I'm betting that the summons notified OP that an answer or defense was due within so many days or that default could be entered. Default can in most places be entered without further notice. No "court date" is usually given in a summons.
Some people, a lot of people, appear to be functionally illiterate, it seems.
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