I am a former tenant and never received my deposit. The small claims court ordered my deposit be paid in full. I understand I can garnish rental income from my landlord who still refuses to pay. My question is how does the garnishment actually work if he receives his rent payments via paper check?

Note I’m not asking how to file a garnishment writ of execution. I’m asking how the money is actually intercepted if he is payed in paper checks. I live in Southern California if that makes a difference.

  • It isn't, they would probably levy his bank account.
    – Ron Beyer
    Dec 9, 2019 at 23:13
  • Im not sure about a levy on his bank. I skipped the step of taking him to court to find out about his assets because I already know he receives rental income. So I have no idea where he banks. Plus there aren’t requirements to garnishments like “he must receive electronic payments” etc. so I’m still confused.
    – mnearents
    Dec 9, 2019 at 23:22
  • What I mean to say is you can either levy an asset (like a bank) or garnish wages. Two different ways to get paid. It wouldn't make sense if I filed to garnish his wages and they made me also levy his bank. So I assume there's a way to garnish rental income without levying his bank.
    – mnearents
    Dec 9, 2019 at 23:28
  • Does he have other income, from a regular job, or is rental income his only income? They could garnish his regular wages if he has any.
    – Ron Beyer
    Dec 9, 2019 at 23:38
  • I think the rental income is his only income.
    – mnearents
    Dec 9, 2019 at 23:39

1 Answer 1


In California you would engage the assistance of the local Sheriff. You would provide your judgement and instructions to the Sheriff and they would serve the tenant. The tenant would then pay the Sheriff which would then turn over the funds to you. It's important that you don't collect more than you are owed. A tenant cannot be evicted for paying a judgement instead of the landlord.

This is called a "third-party levy", and you should contact your local Sheriffs office for more detailed information in executing the judgement. So you need the writ of execution, file some judicial counsel forms and then provide instructions to the Sheriff. Exactly what the instructions need to say may depend on the local jurisdiction, but the Sheriffs office may be able to help with that.

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