Can i use small claims.

Can i use small claims. I am a resident in another state.
Please advise if I am able to go to small claims court to pursue this matter. I was told NO because I no longer live in the state this occurred, yet I do own property there.

In Jan 09 I signed a agreement with a property mgmt co. in GA to find a tenant, collect the rent, and oversee the property. The Mgr. is to receive the Sec. deposit & 10% of the rent each month. In Jun 09 I found out someone was moved into the unit. 2M rent, a sec. deposit & app. Fee has been paid to Mgr. The next day he denied what happened. The TENANT provided me with a copy of the lease agreement, money orders purchased and receipts signed from the Property Manager I was using with his signature that they had received funds.

Is this true? I cannot take the Property manager to small claims? The amount I am requesting is $2,550.00 (Sec. deposit. 2 months rent ($850 x 3).
Am I able to req any additional funds to this amount? Can I provide ”My Statement” via phone, fax, internet to avoid numerous flights to GA?

3 thoughts on “Can i use small claims.

  1. Re: Can i use small claims. I am a resident in another state.
    You do not need to be a resident or otherwise have a connection to Georgia to file a law suit in any court. The key issue is the location of the defendant or venue generally.

    If you would like to discuss any issues further, please feel free to contact my office. My contact information is below. Thank you.

    The foregoing is general information only, not specific legal advice. No attorney/client relation has been created or should be implied.

    Glenn M. Lyon, Esq.
    MacGREGOR LYON, LLC, Business Attorneys
    1100 Peachtree Street, NE, Suite 640
    Atlanta, GA 30309

  2. Re: Can i use small claims. I am a resident in another state.
    I am a California attorney, and not licensed in GA, so I cannot answer the question as to GA law. In California, it is fairly well established that you will have to sue the property manager in GA to recover from them. CA Courts are not going to take on a case where the contract was pressumably negotiated and signed in GA, the contract was to be performed in GA, the subject matter of the litigation is in GA, the case is governed by GA law, and the defendant resides in GA.

    As to whether you can sue in a GA court, I would be surprised if their small claims courts did not allow foreign (out of state) plaintiffs to file. Check with their courts directly to be sure that you can file there. Irrespective, you will probably have to travel to GA for the trial, as (at least in CA) you cannot conduct a trial by declaration or telephone.

    I chimed-in on this because I used to own a property management company, and I have a second suggestion. In most states, persons acting as property managers must be licensed real estate agents. In some states, they actually have to hold a special license to be a property manager. Check if your property manager is licensed in GA, and if so, file a complaint with the licensing agency. Often times the threat of loss of a license is much more intimidating than the threat of, or an actual lawsuit. It would provide a second source of pressure to get the agent to disgourge what they have collected to date. Finally, as to your question about what you can collect – I would argue what they did is fraudulent, and seek at least three times the amount they owe you, plus demand that any fees they may have been entitled to should not be collected by them for their fraudulent behavior. Good luck – it burns me to no end when I hear about crooked real estate agents.

    *Due to the limitations of the LawGuru Forums, The Gibbs Law Firm, APC’s (the “Firm”) participation in responding to questions posted herein does not constitute legal advice, nor legal representation of the person or entity posting a question. No Attorney/Client relationship is or shall be construed to be created hereby. The information provided is general and requires that the poster obtain specific legal advice from an attorney. The poster shall not rely upon the information provided herein as legal advice nor as the basis for making any decisions of legal consequence.

    David Gibbs
    The Gibbs Law Firm, APC
    110 E Avenida Palizada, Ste 201
    San Clemente, CA 92672-3956

  3. Re: Can i use small claims. I am a resident in another state.
    You can/must file where the defendants are.

    Terry A. Nelson
    Nelson & Lawless
    18685 Main St., #175
    Huntington Beach, CA 92648

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