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Old 02-13-2012, 09:27 AM
 
4 posts, read 23,284 times
Reputation: 11

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I will just jump right into the details of my situation.

I was renting from a apartment complex that I later find out is notorious for charging clients with anything they can, right before they move out.

I lived in this apartment for 26 months. I gave my written notification that I was moving out as required by the lease. In the last month I was living there, I got a notice saying the freezer I had on my balcony was not approved patio furniture and needed to be removed. I was also charged a 50 dollar fine. I had this freezer on my balcony the entire time I was living there and never heard a word about it until I was ready to move. We also got a fine because I left a box outside my front door.

I paid those fines, I was just ready to be done with this place. When I moved out, I carpet cleaned the carpet and left the place in good shape.

The apartment complex decided that it wasn't good enough. They ended up keeping my security deposit (1 months rent $1000) and replacing the carpet. They informed me that the charges totaled more than my security deposit and I would need to pay them immediately. In my opinion I left the carpets better then I was given them. They was only a little normal wear and tear. So I asked that they provide documentation and photographs showing why the carpet needed to be replaced. The man I talked to said "yea I'm not seeing any documentation here in the file. Let me look into it and get back to you." I never heard from them again.

This was in July 2011. I received a phone call today (Feb 2012from rent recovery solutions trying to collect on the charge. What are my options? Are they required to provide proof of why they had to change the carpet? This happened in Texas. Are apartments required by law to change the carpets every so often? Is there normally an appeals process for this sort of thing? Or is it just my word vs theirs? I will not pay the fee without some sort of proof. Am I just destined to take a hit on my credit?
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Old 02-13-2012, 11:02 AM
 
912 posts, read 4,907,281 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexatedw View Post
When I moved out, I carpet cleaned the carpet and left the place in good shape.
Do you have pictures to prove this?

If you learn anything on this forum, learn that you need pictures BEFORE you move in, and AFTER you move out. You use this to prove wear-n-tear VS damage.
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Old 02-13-2012, 03:51 PM
 
4 posts, read 23,284 times
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So burden of proof is on the renter?
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:01 PM
 
4,919 posts, read 21,558,692 times
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No the burden of proof is on the Landlord!

but if the landlord produces some pictures that shows anything that looks like damages and you have nothing......

If the landlord produces a invoice & wiork order from the carpet cleaning company that talks about dirty carpets.....

If the landlord produces a written checklist that identifes various damages.....

Yes the landlord will need to prove their case, but don;t confuse the burden of proof with the level of acceptable proof to a judge.

As for owing the money and the time period, they will need to prove you owed that money and that you still owe that money. How they will do that can be a idiotic lame attempt using a napkin with some scribble on it, or it can be a legally sufficient documentation with pictures and notices to satisfy the judge. If tney price sufficient proof, you will need to disprove it. If you end up having to disprove it, how will you do that? What will you submit in the way of evidence to prove they are wrong?
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Old 02-13-2012, 04:48 PM
 
4 posts, read 23,284 times
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Yes, And unfortunately I was naive. The only real records I have would be bank statements showing a carpet clean.

Besides ethics, what would stop the complex from just going into another unit and snapping photos of damage?

Also, the claim was sent to collections, not to a judge. So how to I prove my case and protect my credit when I am just being hounded by a third party for payment?
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:34 PM
 
4,919 posts, read 21,558,692 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexatedw View Post
Besides ethics, what would stop the complex from just going into another unit and snapping photos of damage?
Your copy of the final walk through inspection along with your dated photos to support the inspection report. They can bring whatever they want to court but so long as the inspection report doesn;t indicate any damages and your dated phots support that, they can bring whatever they want to bring after-the-fact and it won;t have as much weight as your copies of documentation.

Ummm, you did do a walktrhough and kept your copy of the inspection report (especially since there was a claim for excessive demages beyond your security deposit) , didn;t you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexatedw View Post
Also, the claim was sent to collections, not to a judge. So how to I prove my case and protect my credit when I am just being hounded by a third party for payment?
Tell them to send you proof of the claim and the address for written correspondences on this matter, AND, you are instructing them no longer contact you on this matter until prooof is supplied. When you get the proof, get back to us. If the collection agency keeps calling or they switch to another collection agency, go through the "personal Finance" sub forum on City-data and you'll get all the answers on what to do.
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Old 02-14-2012, 02:35 PM
 
4 posts, read 23,284 times
Reputation: 11
Thank you for your help pacific!!!
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Old 02-14-2012, 04:35 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,791 posts, read 45,194,160 times
Reputation: 9433
Quote:
Originally Posted by PacificFlights View Post
Your copy of the final walk through inspection along with your dated photos to support the inspection report. They can bring whatever they want to court but so long as the inspection report doesn;t indicate any damages and your dated phots support that, they can bring whatever they want to bring after-the-fact and it won;t have as much weight as your copies of documentation.

Ummm, you did do a walktrhough and kept your copy of the inspection report (especially since there was a claim for excessive demages beyond your security deposit) , didn;t you?

Tell them to send you proof of the claim and the address for written correspondences on this matter, AND, you are instructing them no longer contact you on this matter until prooof is supplied. When you get the proof, get back to us. If the collection agency keeps calling or they switch to another collection agency, go through the "personal Finance" sub forum on City-data and you'll get all the answers on what to do.
In Texas, landlords are not required to do a walkthru with the tenant present. The landlord has 30 days to refund the security deposit or provide a written itemization of the damages that are being withheld from the deposit and a refund of any remaining balance. They may not charge you for normal wear and tear. Carpet normally has a life expectancy of 8-10 years, the landlord can only charge you a pro-rated portion of its value depending on how old it is and if you actually damaged it.

Don't bother trying to negotiate anything with a collection agency, their only job is to collect. You can demand they stop contacting you by telephone, but you must do it in writing. They can still try to collect from you with written correspondence. You have no obligation to talk to them, if they call, hang up.

I have been told in the past that a landlord cannot file a claim against your credit report for an unpaid debt without first getting a legal judgment against you.

Learn what your rights and obligations are here. Austin Tenants’ Council/Security Deposits
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