breached lease and collection - Posted by Guha Bala

Posted by Ed Copp (OH) on July 07, 2003 at 16:21:36:

expects others to assume responsibility for thier actions, or lack of action. It’s been eight years now, it is O.K. to get another job and pay your bills. Have a nice day.

breached lease and collection - Posted by Guha Bala

Posted by Guha Bala on July 07, 2003 at 09:46:06:

Way back in 1995, I lost my job and I moved out of my apartment 4 months before the expiration of my 1 year lease. I wrote a letter to the realty company explaining my financial woe and requested them to try to rent my apartment. They responded saying that they would try to rent it out but in the meantime I was responsible for the payments.

I periodically called to check if my apartment was rented out but even after 2 months, it was vacant. I had my attorney friend write a letter to the realty company asking them to show proof that they were making efforts to rent the apartment. We got no response from them and I stopped paying the rent.

I had totally paid 2 more months of rent after I moved out and I lost my security deposit also.

I thought the matter was closed since there was no communication for 8 years until just a few days back, I get a letter from a collection agency saying that I owe 1 more month’s rent plus interest!!

Hasn’t the Statute of Limitations run out on this contract? I have asked the collection agency not to contact me and told them that if the realty company does sue me, then I’ll deal with it.

Any advice/comments on my situation? Thanks in advance.

Re: breached lease and collection - Posted by JohnBoy

Posted by JohnBoy on July 07, 2003 at 23:12:05:

The collection agency may or may not have a case due to the time lapse. But whether they can go to court or not and sue on the debt owed, they cannot report the collection on your credit file at this point. Collections can only be reported on a credit file for seven years, from the time the debt is in default. Since it has been 8 years since the debt was owed, anything reported on your credit file would have to be removed. If it shows up on your credit file you would have to dispute it, stating the debt is over 7 years old and demand it be removed from your credit file.

Some collection agencies may violate the law by reporting the debt at a later date making it appear as if it was a more recent debt placed in collections. If this is the case you could sue the collection agency for reporting false information on your credit file.

So check your credit file to make sure it is not being reported. If it is, dispute it as a debt that is over 7 years old. Debts over 7 years old must be removed whether they are paid or not. The only exception is if the creditor takes you to court and obtains a judgement against you. Judgements can be reported for a much longer period depending on how long a judgement is good for in your State. Some States a judgement is good for 20 years. But if they don’t have a judgement, then the collection must be removed from a credit file after 7 years from the TIME the debt was in default and owed. Which in your case, the debt occurred over 8 years ago which is past the 7 year limit allowed by law.

I had this happen to me a long time ago. Only I did not owe the apt. complex the debt they were claiming. It was on my credit file for 7 years. Then I disputed it and had it removed. The collection agency tried to collect on it again after I disputed it. I told them to go pound sand and sue me! They said they would report it on my credit file. They already did! To late! The 7 year time limit expired. They claimed they would just report it again and it would be on there another 7 years. WRONG!!! I told them to go for it! Then I’ll sue them! They never did squat after that and that was the last I ever heard from them.

Re: breached lease and collection - Posted by Tom-FL

Posted by Tom-FL on July 07, 2003 at 16:56:45:

You never did mention what state you are (or were) in, but in case it was my state (Florida), I’ve quoted the Florida Statutes on the matter. Look for similar verbiage in your state laws. It’s worth noting that this is a very conservative state, so if you are in a more liberal area (Cali?), who knows, maybe THEY owe YOU money, LOL. (No flames, it was a joke).

FL 83.595©(2)

If the landlord retakes possession of the dwelling unit for the account of the tenant, the landlord has a duty to exercise good faith in attempting to relet the premises, and any rentals received by the landlord as a result of the reletting shall be deducted from the balance of rent due from the tenant. For purposes of this section, “good faith in attempting to relet the premises” means that the landlord shall use at least the same efforts to relet the premises as were used in the initial rental or at least the same efforts as the landlord uses in attempting to lease other similar rental units but does not require the landlord to give a preference in leasing the premises over other vacant dwelling units that the landlord owns or has the responsibility to rent.

Re: breached lease and collection - Posted by I.R.

Posted by I.R. on July 07, 2003 at 13:45:32:

Don’t pay without having your lawyer buddy handle it, and make sure you’re getting a full release of your debt (whatever it actually is) from the owner of the debt.

As to whether you owe rent for the apt. after you moved out, that depends on what your rental agreement was. If you agreed to pay for a term of a certain length and didn’t, then I’d say you owe it.

Undoubtedly the apt. owner had NO obligation to help you rent it after you breached your contract and moved out early.

Your statute of limitations may have run. Where is the apt. located? What state? Where did you live when the agreement was signed? What does the written contract say was the state where the apt. owner’s office was?

The law of Conflicts says you might be sued in any one of several states, probably, (if there was more than one state involved in your residence, the home office of the RE owner, the place where the agreement was signed, etc.) although the place of the RE in question would probably determine whether the SOL has run.

Re: Pay up - Posted by Ed Copp

Posted by Ed Copp on July 07, 2003 at 12:46:44:

You breached the contract, they did not. So you owe … Pay up.

Statute of limitations in my state, on a written contract is 20 years. I do not know where you are.

When you breached the contract, you then asked the Realty Co to show you that they were “making an effort” to correct your breach. What brass you have, they owe you nothing then or now. Pay your bills and the matter will be settled.

Re: breached lease and collection - Posted by JohnBoy

Posted by JohnBoy on July 07, 2003 at 22:52:04:

“Undoubtedly the apt. owner had NO obligation to help you rent it after you breached your contract and moved out early.”

Most States have laws that require the Landlord to mitigate their damages. So the Landlord would have an obligation to get the apt. rented to someone else. The tenant is responsible for the balance of the lease IF the Landlord has in good faith tried to get the place rented again. If the Landlord just sits on it and does nothing to get it rented, and expects the tenant to just pay the rent while doing nothing to rerent the place, the Landlord would lose in court.

Based on the post stating his attorney sent a letter asking for proof that they were trying to get the place rented, then that would suggest to me that his State probably has such laws that require Landlords to mitigate their damages. Which is the reason for sending such a letter in the first place.

Pay Up?? - Posted by River City

Posted by River City on July 08, 2003 at 09:52:11:

The individual state’s statute of limitations may have run out, but as long as you do NOT make any more payments on the account, they cannot “renew” it with the credit bureaus and it cannot be shown on your credit report. If you send them $1.00, then they can start the 7 years all over again. So, make up your mind before sending them any money as to whether or not you will be paying the entire bill. Because it will cause another 7 years of collections on your credit report.

Go to this website http://collectionindustry.com/forum/index.cfm

Click on “discussions” on the left side of the screen
and ask the people in the collection industry the questions.

Re: Pay up - Posted by Guha Bala

Posted by Guha Bala on July 07, 2003 at 13:42:46:

Ed:

I am sure you do very well in your profession and I respect your assessment on this matter. I thank you for your comments and feedback.

But my request is that you kindly limit your comments to the subject matter only rather than judgements about people. Its not in good taste.

I can assure you that the letter didn’t get written because “I had brass”. I was in severe financial jeopardy after a job loss and I sought the help of a lawyer friend for a solution and acted on his advice. Fine, maybe it wasn’t the best advice, but let’s leave it at that.

I think many more people on this e-community will benefit from and heed your words if you can hold off on your judgements of them.