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Old 05-26-2011, 05:08 PM
1 posts, read 2,940 times
Reputation: 10


this is kind of a long/complicated ordeal. i commend you if you can understand all this.

i've been living at a 5BR house with various/roommates over the past 3 years. to be clear there have been 3 different contracts with a few different names on the lease. my roommates were college kids so the carpet in most rooms was bombed. finally our lease was up in Jan '11, we never renewed the lease but kept paying rent until Apr '11 when the owner issued a 30 day notice to vacate givig us til the end of the month to leave.

we were not able to get everything out before the end of the month because it was bad timing for all of us (work/travel/finals). at the walkthrough the owner said there was no way to do the inspection b/c there was too much stuff laying around so they postponed it another week but he said he would prorate us. we also did not pay rent for the last month assuming they would take the money fro our large deposit which was for 1.5 months rent. they told us it was not for rent but for damages. we said they could take the money to cover rent and refund us the difference of what was used to cover te damages.

we end up getting a letter 2 weeks later invoicing us for unpaid rent and an itemized list of damages to the house amounting in 1 month's rent + $6k in damages and late fees from paying rent late. the letter closes by saying they want to deal with this civilly outside of court because they are busy people and dont have time to go.

we felt the charges were overstated so we are asking for all lease contracts fro the real estate agent so we may form an argument in letter form. she is not responding for seemingly obvious reasons (to protect her client).

we are forming a letter to dispute the charges, but my worry at this point is how this will pan out in court. the newest set of tenants and myself did not throw parties and damage the property, it was the other ones that moved out. my concern is since I am the longest standing tenant that it may all fall on me. and we were not told to do a walkthrough before new tenants moved in so te damages are unaccounted for.

thoughts? Tia.
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:24 PM
Location: RSM
5,113 posts, read 18,477,056 times
Reputation: 1902
Only thought I have on the matter is for future reference: I've heard plenty of people say "take the last month out of my deposit" and I've never seen that work out for anyone. The deposit isn't prepaid rent, your rent check is.
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Old 05-26-2011, 05:32 PM
371 posts, read 735,828 times
Reputation: 615
As you know, a lease is a contract, so to figure out whether this is worth pursuing further will largly depend on the terms of your contract with the land owner.

The contract may say that each tenent is jointly and severally liable for damage. If that is the case, you are on the hook for all the damage. But, until you see the lease contract, you can't know. Without seeing your contract and without knowing how such contracts are typically drafted, I would suspect that the landlord would make each tenent that is listed on the contract liable for all the damages. Whose names are on the latest contract?

The same with the deposit. Unless you read the language in the contract that pertains to the deposit, you can't know whether you were able to apply it towards rent, or whether it was wholly reserved for damage to the apartment. Again, without knowing your situation, I suspect the landlord reserved the right to use all of it towards damage to the apartment.

The good news is that even beyond the lease contract, there are laws out there protecting tenents. If you google it, I 'm sure you will find some of them. Therefore, even if certain terms of the contract are contrary to these laws, the laws will probably control, not the contract.

I am pretty sure there are rules about them repairing stuff. They can't just charge you whatever they want to. I am pretty sure you have the right to get a list of the damage and how much it costs to repair, and the cost should be reasonable.

But, in the end, you really need to get your hands on the contract. Go over to the real estate place if you have to and demand it in person.
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Old 05-26-2011, 07:27 PM
394 posts, read 893,668 times
Reputation: 186
What could they have done that would equal 6K? JEEZ!

Did you document the condition of the place when you moved in? What was the condition of the carpet? They can't charge you for having to repaint or repair walls where pictures might have been hung, but if there are broken bathroom fixtures, busted windows and/or screens, or missing hunks of drywall, etc, you will probably be responsible. Depending on the wording in the lease, the carpet may also be an issue.

Take Bowneline's advice. Get a copy of the original contract (as well as any subsequent contracts) and contact a renter's rights group. Document everything you can and hope for the best!

Good luck.
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Old 05-27-2011, 09:43 AM
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
5,886 posts, read 11,928,812 times
Reputation: 3951
I believe the law states the landlord needs to give a 60 day notice to vacate. You may want to check into that.
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Old 05-27-2011, 02:08 PM
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
29,457 posts, read 71,156,678 times
Reputation: 36524
Go to the law library and ask for a simple book on tenants rights. Read it.

Remember that it is probably not worth anyone's time to sue over $6,000. Some people will pursue it in small claims court.
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