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Can a landlord refund a disputed witholding, then send it to a CA?


Guest gryphoemia
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Guest gryphoemia

We moved out of a rental house 6 months ago. The landlord charged us for a bunch of cleaning and repair, but the total charge was still less than our security deposit. We disputed some of the charges. So, the landlord thought they owed us one amount, and we thought they owed us more. We sent a bunch of letters back and forth arguing about it, and finally we sent them a seven day demand for the amount we thought they owed us, under threat of suing them for treble damages in small claims. They then sent us a check for the entire amount we asked for, and an account statement showing a zero balance.

A month later, we get a call from a CA saying that we owe the amount of the disputed charges back to the landlord, plus interest! The CA claims that refunding a disputed amount and then turning around and claiming it as a debt is a "common" and "legal" way for the landlord to avoid the treble damages claim we threatened them with. This smells pretty fishy to me, especially since we were never notified of this supposed debt until after it had accrued interest. Opinions? Info?

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We moved out of a rental house 6 months ago. The landlord charged us for a bunch of cleaning and repair, but the total charge was still less than our security deposit. We disputed some of the charges. So, the landlord thought they owed us one amount, and we thought they owed us more. We sent a bunch of letters back and forth arguing about it, and finally we sent them a seven day demand for the amount we thought they owed us, under threat of suing them for treble damages in small claims. They then sent us a check for the entire amount we asked for, and an account statement showing a zero balance.

A month later, we get a call from a CA saying that we owe the amount of the disputed charges back to the landlord, plus interest! The CA claims that refunding a disputed amount and then turning around and claiming it as a debt is a "common" and "legal" way for the landlord to avoid the treble damages claim we threatened them with. This smells pretty fishy to me, especially since we were never notified of this supposed debt until after it had accrued interest. Opinions? Info?

Send CA a C&D FOAD letter, hold onto account statement.

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Agreed. The letters are proof of a settlement by the landlord agreeing that the charges were erroneous.

The CA should get a sternly worded letter to that effect and that any negative reporting against you or continued collection activity will result in them being placed in the legal crosshairs.

As for the landlord, you can sue them for what they have done. It's called libel when they falsely tell someone else you owe a debt you do not owe. You can sue for personal embarrassment as well as for actual damages (the time you have spent fending off the CA, at your normal wage-rate).

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