Enforcing Unlawful Detainer Money Judgment for Rent and Damages


Landlords may wish to try to collect money owed to them, either from unpaid rent or damages. As stated in another post, it is difficult for a landlord to collect money from a tenant. The primary goal of an eviction for the landlord is to regain possession of the property. Nevertheless, if the landlord receives a money judgement, an attempt can be made to collect on that judgment, from either property belonging to the tenant, or by going after bank accounts and wages, with some exceptions. Exempt from collection in an unlawful detainer money judgment includes the following:

  • Motor vehicle with equity of no more than $2,300
  • Household furnishings, appliances, and apparel
  • Personal property used for business
  • Some personal earnings
  • Social security deposit amounts
  • Benefits from retirement, insurance, disability, and unemployment

Wage garnishment is done by what is known as a “wage garnishment order.” The maximum amount to be withheld from a weekly paycheck is 25% of the tenant’s disposable earnings, or all amounts above 30 times the federal minimum wage, whichever is less. The tenant can also claim an exemption for amounts necessary to support his or her family.

The Law Office of David Piotrowski represents landlords throughout southern California and can assist with a tenant eviction.

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Read Attorney Piotrowski’s “Landlord Best Practices and Eviction Overview” book.

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