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Old 08-13-2012, 11:10 AM
 
3 posts, read 2,563 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello everyone...I would like to get some advice on my situation at my apartment complex. So, last month was the first time that I have ever paid late rent. I had an emergency and could not pay until the 17th, and rent was due on the 4th. The manager was very nice and understanding, and assured me that "these kinds of things happen" and that it would be okay. We arranged actually for the 10th, but I did not get it to them until the 17th. When I called the office on the 11th, I spoke with the assistant manager, who said that I had an arrangement with ***(manager) and that she was going to issue a warrant to repossess the apartment. I said please can I just pay the next day and that I was waiting on a check, so she said to bring it to the office the next day, and that she would not be there, and to put it in ***'s hand. The next day, I called the office to find out how much I should bring for late fees, and the manager was so sweet and actually took off $100 worth of late fees!
So with rent paid, I had to start preparing for next month. I knew I would be a bit late, so come the 4th, I still didn't have it. The assistant manager put a note in my door stating that it was late, so it would be $50 in late fees and $10 each additional day and up to the 10th. If I didn't pay by the 10th, then I would be issued a $200 filing fee for a disposessory warrant/legal fees. She wrote that I had to pay $889 plus $50 plus $140, and that I now owed them $1089. I know that what I actually owed was $949 if I was to pay on the 5th, and disregarded it as a mistake. I knew that I would not have the money until the 10th, but that is the general rule at the apartments that I live in. Pay on or before the 3rd, late fees after and up intil the 10th or eviction, etc. So I worked all week and saved up enough money for my rent. On the 7th, I noticed that she had put another note on my door, but I did not open it, because I was already upset and figured it was just another reminder. After all, the previous letter said the 10th. So Friday, the 10th, I was waiting for a check to clear, so I did not have time to get a money order before work(they won't accept a check for late rent). I called the office, and thank god the manager answered!!! I asked him if I could possibly pay online and he said sure and gave me the website and code to pay and said that I can pay online anytime. I said sorry, it won't happen again and he was so nice and said, "these things happen, it's okay.". So I paid online and my balance including late fees was only $944!

The next day, the assistant manager called my cellphone to ask about my rent. I told her I paid online already and had spoken with ***, and she was like, "oh". So that was that.

Well last night, I was cleaning up and came across that letter that I had not opened on the 7th. It was from the assistant mgr, and it said: "Disposessory Warning Letter. A disposessory warrant will be filed for the posession of your apartment due to nonpayment of rent on August 1st, 2012. This will add a $200 legal fee to your balance. Demand is now made that the full balance be paid immediately or possession of the apartment will be returned. Your account reflects a balance due in the amount of $1154 for the following: rent-829, water/sewer-45, late charges on the 4th-$50, late charges after the 4th-$30 as of today!!!, legal fees-$200".

So, if I had until the 10th, why was this placed on my door on the 7th? And my rent is actually $844, bc I just signed a new lease, for anyone that noticed the difference. That is just what her letter said. I know that she does not like me bc last 2 months my ac was broken and I had to call once a week to ask them to put more freon in it. There was a leak and we didn't know what was wrong, but I had to call every weekend let them know that it was broken again. They kept just putting more freon in it, so I called and asked one of the girls who answered to ask them to check out what the problem was, and she said,"I'm not in the maintenance department". I asked my mom if she could please anonymously call the office and find out the corporate office # since they obviously have caller ID and say "Hello, Emily" every time that I call. Well my mom ruined that and decided to complain about my ac but when they asked her what apartment she refused to tell the assistant mgt, who happened to answer the phone. But they knew it was me bc no one else was having that problem. So I was kind of upset with my mom for doing that and never called corporate. Ever since then, the 2 girls(assistant mgr being one of them) are not nice. Any time I call to speak to the manager or have tried(very rare) she refuses to put him on the phone and gives me a bunch of excuses and says is there something she can do, etc. She was actually the property manager until 2 months ago when the guy was called to come back to the property and take over. Now she is the assistant mgr and he is the manager.

I would like to add that I have lived there for 3 years, going on 4, and that my rent has never been late and I have not had any noise complaints or any other problems since I've been there. And I am already way ahead for next month, so it won't happen again.

What is going on? Is she picking on me or trying to get me to pay extra money? Before I go up there to show the manager the letter today, which were written and signed by her, is there anything I should know:advice?

Thanks, Emily
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:36 AM
 
Location: ๏̯͡๏﴿ Gwinnett-That's a Civil Matter-County
2,117 posts, read 5,306,453 times
Reputation: 3517
My advice is simply this.
Put everything in writing and get everything in writing.
Just as they put their formal demand letter to you in writing, you should do the same thing to them requesting (then later demanding if necessary) that they fix the air. And just as they gave you a date to pay up or get out, you give them a date to fix the air or you will take further action. Chances are not fixing the air is a breach of the rental agreement where it states who is responsible for repairs to what. (And you should check your lease first to make sure they are in fact responsible for it)

Aside from that, you're finding out just as most people do that the people running apartment complexes are usually incompetent, mean ego maniacs who are unsympathetic to their tenants and their problems. Whether they are not fixing the air because they don't like you or because of some other reason is irrelevant. You are obligated to pay the rent and they are obligated to fix the a/c.

Send your correspondence using a postal option called "certified, return receipt requested". This is the standard method of proving you sent something and proving that they received it. You'll have to go to the post office and pay about $5-6 in fees to send it. Don't tape it to their door. This will tell them you mean business.
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Old 08-13-2012, 11:48 AM
 
Location: Atlanta, GA
504 posts, read 1,337,905 times
Reputation: 181
Could be many things. Maybe they even gave you a notice when it was meant for someone else? I have a SFH rental that's handled by a property manager. There have been a few times where he's accidentally labeled maintenance for my house that was meant for one of the other rentals he handles. Mistakes happen and he's always corrected them. One thing that makes me think that is that the rental amount for you is labeled wrong. So don't jump to conclusions until you talk to someone about it to find out for sure. Personally the A/C is their responsibility. If they are doing half-ass repairs then it's still their problem. That can be a problem with these rental places that are owned by some out of state corporation. I've lived in a few of those before. They may have hired a handyman type person for maintenance that might not be an expert in HVAC. I once lived in a house where the electrical breaker box started sparking. I called the PM's to get it fixed and they told me I had to fix it myself! My response was that I wasn't an electrician, I'm not going to kill myself, pay for it to be repaired and that it wasn't my investment property so I couldn't care less if the whole place burned to the ground. After a slight shocked pause the woman said they'd have a repair person out to the house the next day. If you can bring any written documents regarding this to them it would better. Bring in bank statements showing when and what was paid. I wouldn't worry to much. If they give you a problem, I'd just threaten that you could move to someplace else (of course if your situation allows and you didn't just sign another year lease, you may have to wait it out). There are plenty of rentals out there right now with the housing market in the condition it's in. I don't know exactly where you are, but you may even be able to find a SFH for the amount you are paying for an apartment. I've had non-paying tenants, and believe me, I'd trade someone like you that pays on time and when rarely has a problem tries to work it out with the PM before hand than them any day! It took me 3 months to kick them out. The expense to evict is way more than a few late fees would be anyway.
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:25 PM
 
8,285 posts, read 10,223,443 times
Reputation: 6400
It's not personal.

Apartment leasing consultants and assistant managers are incompetent buffoons. Sometimes the managers are too.

Just go sort it out with the manager. Don't call, show up to the leasing office. The legal action was probably never filed, but make sure. If it was, just pay it and write it off as a $200 lesson learned.

But don't worry, the assistant manager isn't trying to get you. She is just an idiot. They all are.

BTW, landlords have a reasonable amount of time to fix a problem, but if it's been a reasonable amount of time (which certainly wouldn't be more than 2 weeks for A/C in the summer), you are entitled to call your own A/C tech and have the problem repaired and deduct the cost of the repair from your rent. What you are NOT entitled to do is stop paying rent until the problem is fixed. A lot of people make that mistake.

No offense, but it sounds like you are young and inexperienced. Why can't you use the internet to find the corporate office phone number? Your lease has the corporate name on it, so you should be able to find the contact information online by going to their website, checking the secretary of state website for whatever state they are incorporated in, or by looking at their SEC filings if they are a publicly held company.
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Old 08-13-2012, 12:33 PM
 
2,683 posts, read 5,200,411 times
Reputation: 940
Sorry about your situation but generally the landlord has the right to start legal action as soon as the contract deems a payment late. If they are relaxed and nice they may just charge you late fees. Know your contract and stick to the facts rather then any personal attacks and you'll get farther.

You stated you had til the 10th but what does your contract state.
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Old 08-13-2012, 08:23 PM
 
3 posts, read 2,563 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for all the answers...I looked everywhere for my lease, but could not find it. Of course I used the Internet to try and look the corporate office as well, and could not find anything. Dumb as it sounds, I am very uncomfortable speaking to this woman, so I avoid going to the office as much as possible. She actually used to be nice to me before all of this happened, though(the ac situation). Anyways, the ac has been fixed for a month now, but I did have to call 9 weeks in a row and ask(very politely) someone to come fix it. That was just a little background on why I feel like it may be a personal thing. The day that I talked to her about paying my rent a few days later, she kept saying,"no, I'm just going to go ahead and serve the warrant". I had to practically beg her not to. I told her I would like to stay and I have been there for a long long time and this has never happened, etc. She threatened me the day after that as well. I do understand that any time I am late that they can start with the legal stuff, but how come the manager was so lenient? And then she was calling me Saturday asking for my rent and I had spoken with the manager the day I paid? She did not even know that I had paid. I did not go up there today, because I wanted to see what advice everyone could offer first, and if I should even bother. I did not have to pay the $200 fee though. I only paid rent plus $50 plus $10 for one day after 4th in late fees. I asked the manager if all of my fees would be listed online and he said yes, so that is what I paid .

By the way...I am inexperienced as far as evictions/legal stuff when it comes to rent payments, but I have been renting for 12 years.
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