Deadbeat tenants on the rise?

Despite collections efforts, some landlords never see a dime

Q: For the past 20 years I have been buying and managing rental homes and I have to say that these days tenants are worse than I have ever experienced. Not all tenants are bad, but lately I have seen a noticeable increase in tenants who do not pay their rent and then leave in the middle of the night after causing a lot of damage to the house. At one rental, I recently had to spend almost $6,000 to fix up the house for re-renting.

I certainly understand the economy is bad in our area and many parts of the country, but my management company is unable to collect any money after the tenant moves out. The manager simply gives the case to a collection agency, and I never collect any money from the agency. It has been a repeated problem. Can you please suggest what I should do? Can you suggest a reputable collection agency?