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question about breaking a lease


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In the summer, DH and I moved to North Carolina for a job opportunity for DH. We signed as 12 month lease for an apartment. 2 months later, DH got fired, couldn't find another job in the area and so we had no choice but to move back home. So we had to break the lease. When we left we didn't owe any back rent and there was no damage or anything. They sent us a bill for over 3k, fees for breaking the lease, 2 or 3 months rent, etc.

Now they just plastered DH's reports with this crap just as I got his reports clean.

Is there any way to fight this? I've read that they have to reasonably find another tenant, and cannot charge for rent for months after it's been rented out again. This is a busy area and I know it would have been easily rented out again.

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You'd have to get some kind of proof that they rented it out. Not sure how you could do that easily outside of court. The FCRA only requires a furnisher to provide copies of documents in cases of ID Theft. And the OC doesn't have to respond to DV requests under the FDCPA.

Unless there is something in your lease that provides for documentation or some local ordinance in the area the apartment exists (like the landlord-tennant ordinance of Chicago), I don't see any way to force them to disclose anything other than what they claim you owe. If they try to take you to court over it, you can get disclosure through discovery, but that's a real painful way to go about it.

Maybe you can send a letter to the current tennant asking when they moved in? Let them know you were the prior tennant and that you are having problems with the landlord over the date you moved out. Maybe they'll be nice and give you that bone.

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Did you notify the mgt? Did you try to work out some sort of deal to sublet the place? Even if there is no damage, you still have to clean the place up a bit usually to get it ready to lease.

Yes, we notified them a week before we left. We really had no choice, no job= no rent money. We left the place completely immaculate.

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And the OC doesn't have to respond to DV requests under the FDCPA.

This is being reported by a ca, which I'm going to go the d.v. route, of course. I'm just wondering if there's any avenue to fight this with the oc. We've never had to break a lease before, so we're pretty clueless about it.

This just sucks...DH's reports were almost clean after a year of hard work. We were planning to apply for a mortgage this spring. Not gonna happen now unless I can get this crap off. :evil:

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Rules regarding this stuff are very localized. You'd have to see if there was a local ordinace or State law regarding landlord-tennant and scour over that for any requirements the landlord has to follow.

Landlords frequently don't follow the rules in my experience. They also don't generally have a clue about contract law. For example, you can usually break a lease based on lack of consideration if the landlord fails to make repairs in a timely manner. It's also common for landlords to try and charge exhorbitant move-out fees against the security deposit such as $60 to clean a bathtub or $7 for a lightbulb. Most of the time these fees can be shot down.

As you pointed out they can't charge you for rent during a period that the building was occupied by another tennant so you really need to find out when that place was occupied after you moved out. You also generally have a right to an itemized list of repairs they claim to have made. If they used an outside contractor, you have a right to see the receipts to make sure they are not "marking up" the repairs.

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