merkurfan

landlord issues.. illegal water billing and threat to evict

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Ok, here is the deal. July last year we got tossed out of our rental house due to forclosure (bank told us, landlord made off with deposit and everything).

We had to move very quickly. We found an apartment that had a very small deposit and free first month. Since we had just paid the rent on the old place we moved in. 2 months later a water bill shows up. We fight over this bill (it's not in the lease, and the steps required by Minnesota law where not followed) being the guy that I am, I told um to pound sand. I did everything by letter (if its not in writing, it never happened)

we went back and forth for a few months. They threaten to evict via a letter slipped under the door in January. I again remind them, state law and the ag say no water bill. They don't back down, we go back and forth and decide, time to get out before we are tossed out as it's the middle of winter and we have kids. It was hard finding a new place because the current apartment building would not talk to prospective landlords or even admit we lived there. Well, we found a place and moved out feb 28th.

We get a bill in the mail from the apartment building, pay us mar-may rent NOW or we report to the cra's and maybe sue you. According to our lease March rent is past due, april is not due yet and may, well that is not due for 35 days!

Can they do this?

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Hey Bud long time.

The answer to your question is: Maybe

It really depends on your state laws, but from my experiance as a landlord in KY you would have to pay me for March, and possibly for April.

From what I know most of the low deposit, first month rent free deals involve a least a 1 or 2 year lease.(usually ironclad leases) The lease you sign should contain lang. that covers default on lease. Some try to say that you owe for the remainder of the lease. This is not true under KY law. It was ruled, unless proven that suitable effort was made to re lease the property, it was unjust enrichment, to charge more than 1 month.

I would agrue, as the landlord, that I did not discover that you had abandoned the property until the middle of march and could not get it cleaned for rental use until after the first of April. Thus you owe me two months rent, and I do not play games with collections, straight to judgement.

The whole water thing, I have no experience with.

Hope this helps in some way.

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Whos name was the waterbill under? Also you need to keep a copy of the lease agreement, you will need it at somepoint.

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The lease is 2 pages long. the second page is all about the deposit and what has to happen to get it back. There is a mysterious 3rd page we have seen once, but we did not sign it (as we did not see it when we signed everything)

" would agrue, as the landlord, that I did not discover that you had abandoned the property until the middle of march and could not get it cleaned for rental use until after the first of April. Thus you owe me two months rent, and I do not play games with collections, straight to judgement."

The apartment was ready to rent before the end of march, cleaned, painted and staged. They are currently using it as a model apartment (it's a main floor unit). If you call and ask if anything is available on the main floor they say "no". They knew we moved out, we mailed them a letter stating the date we where moving to comply with Minnesota law when moving out in the winter. We also made them sign for the keys when we returned them.

I offered them 2 months rent just to get out of the lease. They refused it. The reason they are threatening to report to the CRA is because they know they will loose in court. They have a incomplete signed lease, the water bill fails to meet the law, and they threatened to evict a tenant that was causing no problems and was paying the rent on time.

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Whos name was the waterbill under? Also you need to keep a copy of the lease agreement, you will need it at somepoint.

My wifes, but they miss-spelled her name. It's not from the actual utility company. it's from a third party that takes the buildings bill, uses some sort of mathmatical equasion and says "pay this"..

I talked to their lawyer, pointed out Minnesota law and they said they would not try to collect as the landlord did not do their job.

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Get all of your information together as you have posted here including your state laws governing such, then send the former landlord a CMRR letter telling them you are ready to go to court, and if he reports to the CRB's then he better be ready to go to court.

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The thing is. What do I sue under? They gave me 10 days notice that they are going to report. One nice thing is if it's in the FCRA or FDCPA I can sue under minnesota law as well. There is a provision that says they must comply with those laws in our state law :)

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The thing is. What do I sue under? = One nice thing is if it's in the FCRA or FDCPA I can sue under minnesota law as well. There is a provision that says they must comply with those laws in our state law

You answered your own question.

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sadly, the FDCPA won't apply as it sounds like they are going to be doing in house collections/reporting. So the debt collector angle is out the window.

They notified me they where going to report, so I am not sure under what part of the FCRA I could sue under. Unless I go for the wrong information angle. That would maybe stick as they are trying to charge a lease cancellation fee, something that is completely missing from the lease.

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they are trying to charge a lease cancellation fee, something that is completely missing from the lease.

You should look for your state's version of the deceptive trade practices act or, in the alternative sue for fraud.

Maybe Section 325D.44 Subdivision 1(13), which is a catch all for deceptive practices. The advantage of this is that the burden of proof is much lower than what you need to prove fraud.

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