How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Kim Courtney Your Own Question
Kim Courtney
Kim Courtney,
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4195
Experience:  Founder/Member at Food Business Association
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Kim Courtney is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

What is the likelihood I would be successful in winning a ...

This answer was rated:

What is the likelihood I would be successful in winning a claim against my Tenant for eviction proceedings fees. I lost the eviction proceeding and she just moved out. I cannot hold back her security, but my out of pocket totaled $2,554 and I would like to file a claim against her.

Hello, I am happy to answer your question.

Generally speaking attorney's fees and costs are only to be recovered for the winning party in a lawsuit.

The exception would be if the terms of your lease specify that you will recover this money no matter who filed the claim, and no matter who wins.

Please take a close look at this clause in your lease. If there is no clause, then you lose. If it is there but is vague, you probably won't be successful either. I know it's tough to swallow but it really is just a cost of doing business.

I hope this was helpful and good luck.


Kim Courtney,
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4195
Experience: Founder/Member at Food Business Association
Kim Courtney and 5 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Courtney's Post: There is no provision in the Lease that I would be entitled to attorneys fees. I incurred fees for the eviction proceeding along with attorneys fees for enforcement of gaining access to the property which was clearly covered by the Lease. What I want to know is what are my chances of being successful in a small claims forum.

Ok, regarding your attorneys fees, I don't think your chances are great.

Regarding the other fees to gain access to the property, it depends upon what your basis was, and what the lease gives you the right to do. If you lost the eviction proceeding, the question I have is why? If you entered the property, did you have the right to do it "under those circumstances"? Did the judge in the eviction proceeding determine that you had the right, or did he mention it?

You aren't giving me a lot of details, but it doesn't sound to me like you have much of a chance.

However, in the end, small claims court is not too costly, so you don't lose much giving it a shot. That's what I would suggest if you think the terms of the lease support your actions and expenditures under the circumstances.



Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Courtney's Post: The Tenants viewed the property on December 1 and took possession on December 2. It was agreed that because we had nearly 1/3 of our belongings in the home and it was not rented as "semi-furnished" we would have access to take our stuff out as we could. After "pleading" with us b/c she had no money to assist with utilities, as her roommate never moved in, we paid $306 toward heat. After having to go in on an emergency basis, costing me $650 out of pocket when she failed to fill the propane tanks and the heat went off (utilities were not included in the lease) I had enough and attempted to evict. She had not paid her rent and we filed a nonpayment of rent eviction. She showed up in court with a wad of cash and I lost the proceeding. It was downhill from then. She would not let us return to the property to take any more of our belongings. My Lease states: Tenant agrees to allow Landlord reasonable access to the residence for inspection and repair. Landlord agrees to enter the residence only after notifying the Tenant in advance, except for an emergency.

I hired an attorney to enforce this provision so that I could remove my belonging starting May 15 in anticipation of the end of her lease. My attorney wrote letters, had conversations with her, she would not comply. It did not state that it was mutually agreeable time, just advance notice, which we did. Each time, she resisted and stated she would file a trespassing claim against me. My attorney advised this was a baseless claim, but nonetheless, we did not access the property whatsoever. Part of the attorneys fees were that the management company was repeatedly denied access to show the property from Memorial Day weekend through June 15 to prospective tenants.

I would like to file a small claims court to recover: eviction proceeding fees, attorney fees for enforcement of the lease and the propane that she duped us into paying for. She claimed the "single mom" card and I was nice until I learned at the eviction proceeding that she sends her 3 year old to a private nursery school that costs $8K per year. Until the eviction proceeding she was living in our house paying $700 rent for a 4br/2.5bath house that she was to share with another "single mom" who decided 3 days after signing the lease that this person was "twisted". Even though the 2nd person didn't move in, she continue to pay her 1/2 of the rent, so as to live up to her part of the contract, but she refused to help the "other one" pay the utilities.

I may not be able to recover the eviction proceedings, but at the very least I want to be able to recover the attorneys fees for enforcement of the contract. If I file small claims court, I want to list everything. I have monthly reports from my management report documenting everything as well as my invoice for my attorneys fees.

Now what do you think?

Ok, under these circumstances you should be able to recover these amounts, but what I don't understand is why you didn't file for these amounts during the eviction proceeding? This is what the small claims judge is going to ask, and it might be the reason why you can't recover. You should have demanded that she pay what was owed, PLUS those fees. I assume she only paid you the rent due and owing.

I think it's worth a shot, since it won't cost you much. Just make sure you have all your paperwork documenting everything you claim.

Best of luck,


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I didn't file with the eviction proceedings because my management company, who handled the eviction proceeding (not an attorney) only filed for unpaid rent, not for breach of contract. I could think about deducting the $306 from her security, but I don't think I'll be able to do that. She did reimburse for the $650.

The attorneys fees ($972) I incurred were 2 mos after the eviction proceeding was complete. She did reimburse us for the $650 for propane.

Let me know your thoughts and I think I'll be ready to "accept".

Ok, you should be fine then. As long as you weren't expected to adjudicate it at that time then you shouldn't be barred from doing so now.

Good luck!


JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
< Previous | Next >
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan

Meet The Experts:

  • Tina



    Satisfied Customers:

    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
< Last | Next >
  • Tina's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
  • Ely's Avatar


    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • JPEsq's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    Experience as general attorney, in house counsel, SSDI, Family Law attorney, and law professor
  • Law Educator, Esq.'s Avatar

    Law Educator, Esq.


    Satisfied Customers:

    JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
  • FiveStarLaw's Avatar



    Satisfied Customers:

    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.'s Avatar

    Guillermo J. Senmartin, Esq.


    Satisfied Customers:

    7+ years of experience handling various legal matters.
  • Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.


    Satisfied Customers:

    Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.