Just had a phone call from a landlord asking about debt collection from a bad tenant. Here are my recommendations:
1. Obtain a Form 12 Judgement against the tenant (don't use a Form 6 as this will limit your claim to bond only).
2. Ask the former tenant for payment. This will be difficult if you have no address for the tenant.
3. When (not if) they don't pay, consider using a debt collector.
4. Do they own property in Western Australia? If yes, proceed with debt collection. You can do this yourself, it is a cumbersome process and outside the scope of normal property manager duties, but if the ex-tenant owns property in WA, you have a 90% chance of collecting your money.
5. If the ex-tenant owns property outside WA, consider appointing a debt collector in the state they own property in.
6. If the ex-tenant does not own property, but you have a forwarding address, consider debt collection, you have around a 20% chance of getting some or all of your money back.
7. If you have no forwarding address, think briefly about debt collection but you only have around a 5% change of collection.
Best of luck!