Legal Q&A: Collecting judgment from tenant


Question:  I received a judgment against my tenant for past-due rent and costs of the suit. How do I collect the judgment? How long is it in effect? Do I have to take the tenant back to court to collect?

Answer: Once you receive a judgment for money, California law allows owners of judgments to garnish wages, levy on bank accounts or other non-exempt personal property and conduct judgment-debtor examinations in court to locate assets or wages. The judgment is good for 10 years and can be renewed if the court is convinced that you have diligently pursued collection of the judgment.

Question: What is the code section pertaining to the tenant’s obligation to pay rent subsequent to a 30-day notice?

Ted Kimball Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP

Ted Kimball
Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP

Answer: California Civil Code 1946 requires the tenant to serve a 30-day notice or a landlord to serve either a 30-day or a 60-day notice to terminate the tenancy. The rent is owed until the lease terminates.

Question: Several prospective tenants have inquired about renting an apartment for a month or two. The high turnovers could be detrimental to the units and will create a lot of work for us in terms of doing paperwork and cleaning. Are there any rules that require a tenant to rent a minimum amount of time?

Answer: There are no laws requiring you to rent month-to-month or a minimum or maximum amount of time. Many landlords require six-month or one-year leases.

Kimball, Tirey & St. John LLP is a full service real estate law firm representing residential and commercial property owners and managers. This article is for general information purposes only. Laws may have changed since this article was published. Before acting, be sure to receive legal advice from our office. If you have questions, please contact your local KTS office. For contact information, please visit our website: For past Legal Alerts, Questions & Answers, and Legal Articles, please consult the resource library section of our website.

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