DEAR BRUCE: A former renter owes us about $2,000 rent. We gave her many breaks and trusted her for over 1½ years. We had to evict her last summer.
She does not live up to her promises to pay and paid only $25 this month (a good faith attempt for the court?). She has a full-time job with minimum pay. We are on the bottom of her obligation list.
We are in our 80s and won’t live long enough to get paid off at this unacceptable rate. She says to take her to small claims court, but it doesn’t enforce rulings and a lawyer is too expensive. Would you advise a collection agency? Do you have any other suggestions for how we can retrieve the money from her? — S.A.
DEAR S.A.: I have news for you that you’re not going to like. I would write off the debt and forget about it.
The fact that your renter paid $25 on $2,000 doesn’t make a dent. She knows you’re in your 80s and you won’t live long enough to see the money. She probably has a lot of experience in court doing the same thing to other landlords.
Even hiring a lawyer would not help very much because she claims she has no money. Apparently, she has low income and no capital. If I were you, I would move on and avoid being so generous in the future with a person like this lady. I wish you well.
DEAR BRUCE: I’m 58 years old, disabled, with very limited income, and I need to purchase a vehicle, but I can’t get credit due to bad credit. I can’t get to my doctors and that worries me. Can I do anything about my credit? — A.D.
DEAR A.D.: You’re in a bad situation and it’s going to get worse unless you do something about it. First of all, you say you need a car. I suspect you are looking for a middle-priced vehicle. Go to any section of your town where you see used car lots. You’ll find dealers who sell cheap (I mean cheap) cars and will finance the whole package. This isn’t a great solution, but it is a solution.
In the meantime, don’t try to repair your credit. But if you’re offered credit and you need what’s being sold and the price/terms are correct, jump in. This will kick your credit up a little bit each time you do it, but it’s going to take time. Bad credit is hard to get rid of and easy to create.
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