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Good morning. I would not let them hold you hostage. First, let me address the wife's position....she is dead wrong...they both have joint and several liability under the lease which means they are both 100% liable for the entire debt. Whatever agreement they may have between themselves is irrelevant with regard to their contractual obligation to you. Second, people like these have no intention of paying you your back rent voluntarily and they do not deserve a good reference. And, if you did give them a good reference and their new landlord discovers they were in fact not good tenants...especially when you file suit for back rent...you run the risk of the landlord suing you for the false statements. Third, I would start the process by filing the suit for eviction
to get your eviction order. Once you obtain that, you can have the sheriff throw them out and you can file suit against them for all unpaid rent through the time of the actual eviction. Once the suit is filed and a judgment awarded, you become a judgment creditor, and if the losing party doesn’t then pay the judgment, you can have the sheriff serve a summons on the losing party for a debtor examination. That forces the losing party to meet the judgment creditor in court and answer questions under oath about the losing party's assets. After that information is obtained, the judgment creditor has the power to garnish wages, attach bank accounts, have the sheriff seize other personal property, and/or place liens on any non-homestead
property to satisfy the judgment.
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