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Old 02-18-2009, 09:19 AM
 
11 posts, read 42,245 times
Reputation: 15

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Hi,
I'm new here and stumbled upon this website while trying to learn a little more about what's allowed in rental agreements or whatnot.

My situation is this: I was evicted from my previous apartment during the first week of December of 2008 (due to insufficient funds). I felt bad that I could not come up with the previous 2 months' rent. Before that, I lived there over a year and did not have problems paying monthly rent. But I understand they're running a "business" and that stuff ... so I understood that they felt the need to involuntarily evict me. I was living in a general apartment complex near Las Vegas. I live alone. I was paying $807 monthly rent. Then after they tack on utilities, it was really around $830 per month. Then, of course, I paid electric/cable/phone/internet separately. Anyhow, I was afraid of being evicted, as I'm quite naive and never have been in that situation before. I only had a strict mother who I could possibly move in with (but she's kind of strict and I wound up embarking to an apartment complex after a couple days living with her, but that's another story.) Anyhow,, the landlord(s) felt the need to get a constable to exert more force on the situation. He even pointed a firearm at me because I was afraid to answer the door, because I was afraid of being homeless on the street and starved and dead. Anywho. That was the only time anyone's pointed a firearm at me. To me, though, after seeing so many horror movies, I'm kind of stoic about the thought of dying. I mean, hey, death is better than being "on the street" I reckon. Anywho. After being evicted and quickly moving my stuff out of there, I informed the management how they could contact me if I owe them for those 2 months of upaid rent and any possible maintenance costs, because I would feel I owe them.

However, management did not inform me that I owe them anything until this month of 2009. February 2009. I thought they were going to send me a "bill" or "debt" much sooner than that. I figured they just kept my $400 security deposit and that was it. But apparently not.

After a little research, apparently they're supposed to send me itemized deductions relating to why they kept my security deposit. But they never informed me why. I don't mind, though. I just think it's kind of underhanded. Plus, this "bill" I received was from some collection agency (which I'm wondering even exists and is a scam) stating I owe over $5,000. Further, this "bill" merely states the amount owed. Does not show how the amount was calculated. Plus, it has interest accrued. That is a bit sloppy, I think, because if they simply would have sent me this "bill" sooner, I could have it paid by now and not have to pay this extra interest. It's their fault it took them this long to inform that I owe them anything.

My argument to this collection agency was that I was willing to pay like around $2,000 and be a nice guy about the whole thing (as I currently now have the funds to pay whatever I owe). But they like vehemently (spelled right?) and like belligerently insisted that I owe them over $5,000 including that interest and that it was all "valid".

However this "bill" I received mentioned I can dispute the validity, which I did. But they're being jerks about it, and I don't know why the apartment complex can't just send me a "bill". I guess they're being jerks about it (getting a collection agency involved) and don't want me to have savings/money. Tsk, tsk. Anywho.

After failing to find the collection service's address, I went to the bank. They mentioned it's a legal issue. So, I went to a local County Justice Court office place and spoke to a few people, as I dispute the amount; I believe I'm being overcharged. Interestingly, they told me that this "bill" is not even in their system, which inherently means it does not exist!!!!

They advised me to ask this collection service "where it's coming from" so that I can officially file a dispute or whatever. But then talking to the collection service ... they gave me no answer about that.

So anyhow. Sorry if this post is a little long.

Basically, my question is: are these people trying to "scam" me? What I inferred was that if it's not in the county justice system, then there's nothing to bring to small claims court.

My other basic question: If they evicted me before lease expired, then do I owe them rent for the rest of the lease period of time, even though I don't live there anymore? This is what I was disputing with these people.

Isn't my lease terminated once I'm evicted? Like if you're terminated from your job ... you don't get paid once you're not an employee?

Plus, the collection agency claimed that it was stated in the lease I signed that I have to pay rent for months after I was evicted up to lease expiration date. But my lease states nothing of the sort. There may be an "early vacate fee" which my security deposit would cover. But that's about it.

I just feel I should only owe $2,000. I would like to pay for 2 months unpaid rent. But now I'm wondering if any of this is even legit/valid. Maybe they're just being "greedy" and secretive. Maybe I don't owe anything at all, especially since they kept my whole security deposit. And I read somewhere that it could be immoral that they still haven't told me why or how they kept my security deposit, which apparently they're supposed to do.

But they can keep my security deposit. I don't care now. I just want to get this resolved the right way and then put it behind me. I don't quite enjoy receiving this bill months later out of nowhere.

So, I guess I'll just see what happens.

To me, it's not about money; it's about doing what's right.

But, no real problem. I found a different apartment to live in which I like better (no leases or contracts)!!!

Josh
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:42 AM
 
Location: friendswood texas
2,489 posts, read 6,852,849 times
Reputation: 3086
If you were evicted by a sheriff that means it went through the court system. You would owe any back rent and any legal fees it cost to put you through eviction. They are going to keep your security deposit to put towards any damages to the apartment and any rent, utilities owed. So yes your bill could very well be 5000. Pay up. Move on.

ETA at the last apartments I worked at, once a tenant was evicted we at the leasing office were not allowed any contact with them, we were instructed to direct any inquiries to our collection department. They handled the retrieval of any monies owed to the company. Most likely your apartments work the same way and that is why you didn't receive a bill from them.
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Pinal County, Arizona
25,106 posts, read 37,026,119 times
Reputation: 4924
If say you have 10 months left on your lease when you are evicted, you are responsible for that 10 months. In other words, you still owe the rent for that period.

This said, the landlord must attempt to re-rent the dwelling and, if they do, you would only owe for the period of time the unit was vacant.
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Old 02-18-2009, 10:31 AM
 
Location: Oklahoma(formerly SoCalif) Originally Mich,
13,387 posts, read 17,952,127 times
Reputation: 4611
Quote:
Originally Posted by YearZeroNIN View Post
Hi,
I'm new here and stumbled upon this website while trying to learn a little more about what's allowed in rental agreements or whatnot.

My situation is this: I was evicted from my previous apartment during the first week of December of 2008 (due to insufficient funds). I felt bad that I could not come up with the previous 2 months' rent. Before that, I lived there over a year and did not have problems paying monthly rent. But I understand they're running a "business" and that stuff ... so I understood that they felt the need to involuntarily evict me. I was living in a general apartment complex near Las Vegas. I live alone. I was paying $807 monthly rent. Then after they tack on utilities, it was really around $830 per month. Then, of course, I paid electric/cable/phone/internet separately. Anyhow, I was afraid of being evicted, as I'm quite naive and never have been in that situation before. I only had a strict mother who I could possibly move in with (but she's kind of strict and I wound up embarking to an apartment complex after a couple days living with her, but that's another story.) Anyhow,, the landlord(s) felt the need to get a constable to exert more force on the situation. He even pointed a firearm at me because I was afraid to answer the door, because I was afraid of being homeless on the street and starved and dead. Anywho. That was the only time anyone's pointed a firearm at me. To me, though, after seeing so many horror movies, I'm kind of stoic about the thought of dying. I mean, hey, death is better than being "on the street" I reckon. Anywho. After being evicted and quickly moving my stuff out of there, I informed the management how they could contact me if I owe them for those 2 months of upaid rent and any possible maintenance costs, because I would feel I owe them.

However, management did not inform me that I owe them anything until this month of 2009. February 2009. I thought they were going to send me a "bill" or "debt" much sooner than that. I figured they just kept my $400 security deposit and that was it. But apparently not.

After a little research, apparently they're supposed to send me itemized deductions relating to why they kept my security deposit. But they never informed me why. I don't mind, though. I just think it's kind of underhanded. Plus, this "bill" I received was from some collection agency (which I'm wondering even exists and is a scam) stating I owe over $5,000. Further, this "bill" merely states the amount owed. Does not show how the amount was calculated. Plus, it has interest accrued. That is a bit sloppy, I think, because if they simply would have sent me this "bill" sooner, I could have it paid by now and not have to pay this extra interest. It's their fault it took them this long to inform that I owe them anything.

My argument to this collection agency was that I was willing to pay like around $2,000 and be a nice guy about the whole thing (as I currently now have the funds to pay whatever I owe). But they like vehemently (spelled right?) and like belligerently insisted that I owe them over $5,000 including that interest and that it was all "valid".

However this "bill" I received mentioned I can dispute the validity, which I did. But they're being jerks about it, and I don't know why the apartment complex can't just send me a "bill". I guess they're being jerks about it (getting a collection agency involved) and don't want me to have savings/money. Tsk, tsk. Anywho.

After failing to find the collection service's address, I went to the bank. They mentioned it's a legal issue. So, I went to a local County Justice Court office place and spoke to a few people, as I dispute the amount; I believe I'm being overcharged. Interestingly, they told me that this "bill" is not even in their system, which inherently means it does not exist!!!!

They advised me to ask this collection service "where it's coming from" so that I can officially file a dispute or whatever. But then talking to the collection service ... they gave me no answer about that.

So anyhow. Sorry if this post is a little long.

Basically, my question is: are these people trying to "scam" me? What I inferred was that if it's not in the county justice system, then there's nothing to bring to small claims court.

My other basic question: If they evicted me before lease expired, then do I owe them rent for the rest of the lease period of time, even though I don't live there anymore? This is what I was disputing with these people.

Isn't my lease terminated once I'm evicted? Like if you're terminated from your job ... you don't get paid once you're not an employee?

Plus, the collection agency claimed that it was stated in the lease I signed that I have to pay rent for months after I was evicted up to lease expiration date. But my lease states nothing of the sort. There may be an "early vacate fee" which my security deposit would cover. But that's about it.

I just feel I should only owe $2,000. I would like to pay for 2 months unpaid rent. But now I'm wondering if any of this is even legit/valid. Maybe they're just being "greedy" and secretive. Maybe I don't owe anything at all, especially since they kept my whole security deposit. And I read somewhere that it could be immoral that they still haven't told me why or how they kept my security deposit, which apparently they're supposed to do.

But they can keep my security deposit. I don't care now. I just want to get this resolved the right way and then put it behind me. I don't quite enjoy receiving this bill months later out of nowhere.

So, I guess I'll just see what happens.

To me, it's not about money; it's about doing what's right.

But, no real problem. I found a different apartment to live in which I like better (no leases or contracts)!!!

Josh
Suggestion......

Send a Certified letter to the colletion agency requesting an Itemized statement, detailing any and all pending charges, dated and calculated down to the last penny.
Inform them that you are willing to pay any charges that you LEGALLY owe.

Be Polite.
Keep copies of everything.

If no statement is returned, I would'nt worry about it.
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Old 02-18-2009, 11:47 AM
 
Location: Apple Valley Calif
7,474 posts, read 21,579,844 times
Reputation: 5651
The management company has 21 days to notify you in writing of any charges. If they fail to do that, they lose. In fact, if you weren't notified in that time period, they must return you deposit.
They know they lost, so they sold your paper to a collection company. If the company can get someone to pay up, they win. They buy that paper for next to nothing and send out collection notices by the hundreds, in hopes a few people might pay them something.
Tell them to go pound sand.. Might be a good time for some legal advise. I know you are low on funds, but go see a Para-legal. There are places you can get advice.
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Old 02-18-2009, 12:03 PM
 
Location: Pinal County, Arizona
25,106 posts, read 37,026,119 times
Reputation: 4924
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donn2390 View Post
The management company has 21 days to notify you in writing of any charges. If they fail to do that, they lose.
I MUST caution you; Nevada is TOTALLY different from CA. Nevada is one of the most landlord friendly states in the country. Evictions are some of the easiest in the country.

It is not like California
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Old 02-18-2009, 12:05 PM
 
898 posts, read 1,446,175 times
Reputation: 1007
I love how everything is everyone else's fault but your own and how "they" are "after you" and "don't want you to have any savings".

Fact of the matter is that you were 2 months behind in rent so that sucks up your deposit and then some so stop whining about your deposit.

As far as the collection agency and the $5000.00; you said that you already talked to a lawyer? Why didn't your lawyer get a hold of these people and find out what the hell is going on?

If you didn't talk to an actual lawyer and you can't afford one, then go to the housing department. They have a legal department as well than can help you with this. They usually even have some pretty big fish that work pro bono for losers like you and scare away the mean ol' landlords who had the audacity to throw you out when you didn't pay for your place.

Whatever you do, though, DO NOT IGNORE THIS on the assumption that it is a scam. If it is legit your credit will be messed up for a long time and it will hinder you when renting again (because I doubt you're smart enough to ever get yourself together and buy a house) or when buying a car.
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Old 02-18-2009, 12:18 PM
 
13,818 posts, read 24,670,126 times
Reputation: 14175
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatmancomics View Post
They usually even have some pretty big fish that work pro bono for losers like you and scare away the mean ol' landlords who had the audacity to throw you out when you didn't pay for your place.

...(because I doubt you're smart enough to ever get yourself together and buy a house) or when buying a car.
Wow. Just wow. There are millions of people losing their jobs this year, are they all losers? This person is trying to make good on unpaid rent which is by and far better than 99% of the other evictions out there would do. How exactly does this person convey they are a loser in their post?

To the OP: Get a hold of your lease that you signed. Also pull your credit for free from freecreditreport.com or wherever it's done. This is important. It will show who filed the debt (if it was even done) and you can dispute it as well. You can show supporting documents such as a lease. The fact that you are even trying to pay your back rent is admirable. Personally if it were me, and this happened to me, I'd tell 'em to **** off if they tried to up the amount owed.

An example: A hospital sent a bill of my wife's to collections. They had been mailing it to an incorrect address and had spelled her name wrong (wasn't even close). The only way we found it was by pulling our credit report. I called them up and said I'd be happy to pay it, we had no idea we owed it, but they would have to delete the report off of her credit report. They balked, I said fine the damage is done, buh-bye. Got a call 2 days later saying send the check in they deleted it.

You're trying to do the right thing and they are taking you for a ride. Don't let them take advatage of you. The damage most likely has been done. Take your time.
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Old 02-18-2009, 12:36 PM
 
850 posts, read 4,504,868 times
Reputation: 687
This is a very common situation and I don't see the community or collection agency as trying to scam you. First of all, when dealing with an eviction, it is necessary to go through all of the proper legal channels, including gettin law enforcement involved, to remove a person from the unit. That process is determined by the laws of your state, so it's not the community's fault that you were removed by law enforcement.

Secondly, read your lease. See what you are responsible for. You did vacate early (the fact that they evicted you is irrelavent as you're the one who defaulted on the agreement) so you are bound to the terms of vacating early. In my state, a person has to pay either until the lease ends or a new tenant is found. It sounds like they're charging you until a new tenant moved in. Which brings up the timeframe. They couldn't have billed you for that time until they knew when someone else moved in, kwim? So the reason you're seeing the bill now is probably because someone just moved in so they had a date to charge you through.

Finally, once a resident is evicted, it's common to send them straight to a collection agency. You sound like you're trying to be a stand up guy and pay your debt, but 9 times out of 10, most evicted parties aren't that stand up. So again, because we have to do everything the same for everyone to comply with Fair Housing, the best thing to do is send them straight to collections.

Now, when you were evicted, it would have been impossible for your landlord to get a money judgement against you not knowing when a new resident would move in. Hence why the amount isn't in the court system. A landlord doesn't have to take you to court if you owe a debt. It's up to them how they'd like to proceed. Many just go straight to an outide collection agency. So the fact that it's not recorded anywhere doesn't mean a thing. The landlord just chose not to sue you for it. That's actually a good thing, but doesn't mean you don't owe it anyway.

Bottom line is you owe the landlord. And you owe them not only the 2 months rent that you were behind, but you owe them what they are out because you defaulted on your lease. And the amount they were out was the rent until the new tenant moved in. So as a PP stated, send a certified letter to the collection agency requesting a breakdown of the debt, determine how much of it you are responsible for, and make arrangements to take care of it. And if you take care of it quickly, you may be able to end up avoiding having it reported on your credit report.

Good luck.
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Old 02-18-2009, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Boise, ID
8,047 posts, read 26,422,319 times
Reputation: 9396
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greatday View Post
I MUST caution you; Nevada is TOTALLY different from CA. Nevada is one of the most landlord friendly states in the country. Evictions are some of the easiest in the country.

It is not like California
/agreed

The rule that the previous poster listed is not the case in many states. In Idaho, for example, the LL has 30 days to send out the deposit or itemized list. If they do not, you (the tenant) have to request it in writing. The landlord then has 3 days to produce it. Check your local law.


Quote:
Originally Posted by greatday
This said, the landlord must attempt to re-rent the dwelling and, if they do, you would only owe for the period of time the unit was vacant.
I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt here, since you are from the OP's state. However, not all states mandate this either. Its common sense, and the right thing to do, but not always law. The landlord usually just can't collect rent from two parties at once for the same dwelling. Not all states require any attempt to rerent. Idaho does not. We were all positive it did, but upon recently checking code, and calling an attorney, we learned otherwise.


You (the OP) said that the collection company should have notified you sooner for expenses owed, and sent you a notice of deposit distribution, but then mentioned you've moved twice. Did you call your past landlord and give them your new address? Did you have your mail forwarded? They might have just found you. Either way, the only part you can debate there is late fees/interest. Hard costs are your expense. If they had to track you down because you skipped out on money owed, 60-75 days is not only reasonable, its downright speedy. I really doubt you could get your deposit back on those grounds either.

As for the bill not being in the system for the local courthouse. Unless you've been to court or received a summons to court, it wouldn't be in the system. The courthouse does not keep records of every bill sent between companies or individuals. That's just a silly argument.

I agree with mkfarnum's advise. Send a certified letter asking for an itemized list. They can't expect you to blindly pay costs with no breakdown, but if the expenses are legitimate, they can expect you to pay them. Be polite is great advice, see if you can work a deal, or if not, maybe a payment plan.

You didn't pay your rent, and then avoided the landlord when he tried to collect. That makes this entire ordeal your fault. Don't try to blame someone else for your mistakes.
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