We’re excited to tell you about an enhancement that we have asked our technology provider, Nationwide, to implement for you in our continuing effort to make our work for you more efficient, streamlined, and easy to understand.
In the past, we know that clients were occasionally challenged in trying to determine whether a case had been reviewed and approved by our attorneys or processed and submitted to Court for filing by our Team. Since our electronic invoicing has always been triggered by the processing of a case to send to the Court, whether or not an invoice for our work was “in the pipeline” was hard to know at any particular moment during the workday, like if a resident would come to the office to make payment and want to know their “full balance” right then and there. If our Team had just processed their case an hour earlier, you would have to call us to know that for sure, and then know that you would receive our invoice overnight that same night. If you didn’t call to find out, though, then you might take the resident’s payment only to have to “eat the cost” later when our invoice showed up in your Inbox the next morning.
Beginning tomorrow, though, all that will change for the better! Starting April 1, when you submit an eviction case to us, the case will be assigned a status of “New” until one of our attorneys has reviewed and approved it. Once that happens, when you login and view the case status, you will see it has been marked as “Approved.“ At that point, you will then know: (1) the attorneys’ fees portion of our Invoices have been attached to that case for billing (and can be required to be reimbursed by the tenant, when permitted by your state’s laws); and (2) that if you request the case be dismissed at that point, you will NOT be billed for any Court costs or service fees that would otherwise be due if the case had been fully processed.
After the case is “Approved”, though, the next status update occurs when our team processes the paperwork and submits it to the Court for filing, along with checks for the Court and the Sheriff. The case’s status will then show as “Processed” so that you know: (1) the case has been shipped to the Court to be filed; (2) the full amount of our usual Invoice will be created and sent to you electronically overnight, allowing you to seek reimbursement from the resident for the full amount of the Invoice you receive from us.
So starting tomorrow, in the rare instance that a resident makes payment and you mark the case to be Dismissed in-between the time the case was in “Approved” status but before moving to “Processed” status, you will only receive an invoice for our attorney fees, and nothing else! This will hopefully save you extra money and charges, and also hopefully some unneeded stress, by keeping you from having to try to seek reimbursement for invoices after you’ve already accepted payment. If you do not dismiss the case until after it has been processed, though, you will receive a full invoice just like you’re used to receiving.
The beauty of this is that by looking at your case status screen, you will know in almost real time whether the case has already been reviewed and approved but not yet processed (meaning you can save court costs if the case is dismissed at that moment), or if it has already been processed and sent off to Court for filing, allowing you to seek full reimbursement from the resident. [NOTE: we say “almost” real time because the attorneys are in there reviewing and approving at the same time as you, so be sure to refresh your Case Status screen to make sure you’re getting the most current information!]
So, from here forward, the “best practice” would be to politely ask a resident who has come in (or called in) to make payment to wait while you log into your account and check the status of their pending case. If it still says “New”, you can go ahead and click ‘Dismiss’ and let the resident know that there is no extra charge.
If the case shows as “Approved” but the resident is making full payment, again just click ‘Dismiss’ but be sure you’ve let the resident know that this is the reason they were required to pay some additional amounts (our attorneys’ fees) in reimbursement to you – those will come to you in an invoice from us that same night.
Finally, if the case shows as “Processed”, you will know you should expect to receive an invoice from our Firm that night in the total of our attorneys’ fees together with the Court and Sheriff fees, as well; if you’re seeking reimbursement from the tenant, then you can let them know the total amount needed, and then dismiss the case once you have received payment.
And if you ever have any questions about the amount of our fees or the Court and Sheriff charges, our breakdown of fees is on our website under the “How Much Does This Cost” button and also in our welcome packets to new clients. As always, we hope you enjoy our new enhancements to your client experience with us, and thank you for your trust and continued business.
Loebsack & Brownlee PLLC
The Eviction Team