Magnolia, TX asked in Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for Texas

Q: TX. Landlord says I owe and will send me to collections. I filed small claims, what will happen?

Texas. I owe a balance of to my landlord for alleged damages and he said he will send me to collections. I have video evidence there were no damages and the balance has a current petition in small claims court. I have not paid the balance. Can he still send the unpaid balance to collections while it's being petitioned? If the petition is approved, can he still send the debt to collections? Or should I pay the debt now, while still disputing it in court? I am not a lawyer.

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2 Lawyer Answers
T. Augustus Claus
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A: In Texas, while your case is being petitioned in small claims court, the landlord has the right to pursue the unpaid balance through collections. The legal process for collecting a debt and the small claims case are separate matters. If the small claims court rules in your favor and determines that you do not owe the alleged damages, it could potentially impact the debt collection efforts. However, until the court makes a final decision, the landlord can proceed with attempting to collect the debt through collections.

John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: The collections process generally begins with demand letters for payment of the debt and reporting of the debt to credit bureaus, and then moves into legal action. These are not mutually exclusive, so they may occur simultaneously.

Small claims cases proceed fairly quickly in Texas. If you have video evidence that there were no damages, you should be prepared to show such evidence to the court. Bring appropriate equipment to allow you to play it for the court, as justice courts often do not have a wide variety of a/v equipment.

If the court rules there were no damages for which you are responsible, you can send certified copies of the judgment to any collection agent or credit bureau.

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