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Property manager owes us money, need help with small claims court filing

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zoelee

Active Member
We live in Texas.

Our property manager stopped paying us the collected rents since end of last year. We thought he simply hadn't got around to it. Every time we called, he said he was busy and he would do it right away.

We ended our contract with him last month. According to the contract, he's supposed to pay us the balance 30 days after the termination date. When the 30 day deadline arrived, he paid he has no money to pay us.

He owes us about $10,000 which is right under TX small claims court limit. So we decide to take him to small claims court. But when I researched his LLC, I found out that it's not a legitimate business. It's not registered via the state of Texas, or any other state.

My questions:

1. Should I sue his bogus LLC, or him as an individual?

2. What evidences do we need for the case?

2. Assuming we win, what options do we have to collect the money?

Thank you very much!

Zoe
 


quincy

Senior Member
You should not name a nonexistent business in your lawsuit. Sue the person you hired to manage your property.
 

zoelee

Active Member
You should not name a nonexistent business in your lawsuit. Sue the person you hired to manage your property.
Thank you Quincy. But our contract is between his LLC and us. How do I establish the connection between him and his LLC? What evidences are needed?

Also, do I need to prove that his LLC is not legit, therefore that's why I am suing him? Will website search "0 results" be good enough?
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
You should not name a nonexistent business in your lawsuit. Sue the person you hired to manage your property.
I disagree. The OP should sue the business, the person individually, and a handful of "Does", just to be safe.
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/BO/htm/BO.5.htm#5.255
Sec. 5.255. AGENT FOR SERVICE OF PROCESS, NOTICE, OR DEMAND AS MATTER OF LAW. For the purpose of service of process, notice, or demand:
...

(3) each manager of a manager-managed domestic or foreign limited liability company and each member of a member-managed domestic or foreign limited liability company is an agent of that limited liability company;

(4) each person who is a governing person of a domestic or foreign entity, other than an entity listed in Subdivisions (1)-(3), is an agent of that entity; and
...


The OP can serve the same person who purported to be a member or manager of the LLC.
 

quincy

Senior Member
https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/BO/htm/BO.5.htm#5.255
Sec. 5.255. AGENT FOR SERVICE OF PROCESS, NOTICE, OR DEMAND AS MATTER OF LAW. For the purpose of service of process, notice, or demand:
...

(3) each manager of a manager-managed domestic or foreign limited liability company and each member of a member-managed domestic or foreign limited liability company is an agent of that limited liability company;

(4) each person who is a governing person of a domestic or foreign entity, other than an entity listed in Subdivisions (1)-(3), is an agent of that entity; and
...


The OP can serve the same person who purported to be a member or manager of the LLC.
There is no registered business and no registered agent. The LLC does not exist.

Naming the property manager and also the property manager [doing business as name of business] would work.
 
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zoelee

Active Member
There is no registered business and no registered agent. The LLC does not exist.

Naming the property manager and also the property manager [doing business as name of business] would work.
Thanks. Something like John Doe (doing business as ABC, LLC)?
 

Zigner

Senior Member, Non-Attorney
Personally, I'd name the person, the person DBA the LLC, the LLC and some John Does, just for good measure
 

zoelee

Active Member
This guy has already a few thousand dollars judgement against him. If we win, will that be another unpaid judgement? Will he have to pay off the first judgement before he can pay us? What if he files for bankruptcy?
 

quincy

Senior Member
This guy has already a few thousand dollars judgement against him. If we win, will that be another unpaid judgement? Will he have to pay off the first judgement before he can pay us? What if he files for bankruptcy?
If you sue him and are successful with your suit, it falls on you to collect on the judgment. If he has no money or assets, or if his debt to you is wiped out in bankruptcy, you collect nothing.

I am curious: Why didn't you research him and his "LLC" prior to hiring him to manage your property?
 

zoelee

Active Member
If you sue him and are successful with your suit, it falls on you to collect on the judgment. If he has no money or assets, or if his debt to you is wiped out in bankruptcy, you collect nothing.

I am curious: Why didn't you research him and his "LLC" prior to hiring him to manage your property?
it was our first rental property, a tenant had been late with rents for month and we were desperate. And he was the PM for the previous owner. So we thought he had a "track record".

I feel like he's taking advantage of our being new and "nice" - letting him be late for months in paying us. If we don't do anything, he gets away with it.
 

quincy

Senior Member
it was our first rental property, a tenant had been late with rents for month and we were desperate. And he was the PM for the previous owner. So we thought he had a "track record".

I feel like he's taking advantage of our being new and "nice" - letting him be late for months in paying us. If we don't do anything, he gets away with it.
It is too bad you didn't do some checking up on him prior to hiring him - but new landlords sometimes learn the hard way.

Good luck.
 

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