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I took a job 3 months ago out of the country and had to leave before my lease was up. The lease says I owe 2 months rent to get out early. I agreed to pay that and signed a promissory note to that effect which I still have. I spoke with an attorney during this time and he said that in court I would only be liable to for actual damages if they were not able to rent out the apartment but that was not his area so I should hire an attorney if I wanted to do that. I was content to pay the 2 months at that point which was $2440 to resolve the issue. Afterwards the apartment company said there was a spot on the carpet that they were sure they couldn't clean ( they didn't try) and charged me $500 to replace all the carpet in the entire apartment. They put an asterisk on the promissory note that says *does not include damages and changed the total to $2940. I did confirm that the apartment was rented out during my last month of paid rent and somebody was in the apartment before the 2 months rent began. They were unwilling to negotiate and after 3 months sent the account to a CA, Fair Collections and Outsourcing 6 days ago. Should I just settle, hire an attorney or utilize some of the methods mentioned her like Debt Validation? I would very much like to prevent this from going on my credit report even if I were able to have it removed later.

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it may be more expensive and time consuming to fight the $500, not to mention it may hit your credit report as a delinquency and start a nightmare.

i dont know what you should do, but if you plan to fight this it may be wise to protect your credit by paying the 500 then suing them to get it back. (assuming you are trying to protect your credit)

but again, not sure what your best option is, i think others should chime in.

if your credit is already shaky my strategy would be different.

do you have a copy of the original lease showing the $2440?

do you also have a copy of the "new" lease showing the $2940?

do you have proof of payments?

do they have proof of the carpet that was dirty (pictures) or did you admit at anytime that the carpet was dirty?

do you have proof that you left the carpet clean when you moved out? (pictures)

do they have proof that it cost $500 to clean the carpet?

Edited by jackson212
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I have a copy of the promissory note before and after the alteration.

The carpet could have easily been cleaned and I told them so. They didn't clean the carpet, they replaced the carpet in the entire apartment.

My credit rating isn't great but there is very little bad stuff on it and I need to keep it that way. Since it just went to collections I wanted to know if I should take any pre-emptive action such a Debt Validation letter.

From what I have read about Promissory notes it is a material alteration since it was the amount owed and invalidates the note.

They had no actual damages since they were already renting the apartment out before my last month expired much less the 2 months they want in addition.

Fair Collections and Outsourcing appears to be an exceptionally nasty CA so I want to make sure I give myself maximum protection in case we end up in court. I have been using National Association of Consumer Advocates to find an attorney. I just want to make sure I have done everything I need to do in case I need to go with an attorney.

Edited by GregVA
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You may need to consult an attorney that deals with landlords and rents. Most states require landlords to mitigate their damages. In your case they didi by renting the unit out. So that part would be easy.

Here is where the wrinkle comes in. You entered into a new contract, the promissory note. Normally that contract in new and separate from the lease contract, but in this case, it is an extension of it. Their is no consideration coming your direction in the promissory note. You received nothing of value for signing it, so it is possible the promissory note can be voided.

Spend one hour with an attorney and have him/her look at your situation, the only thing I see you may be liable for is the $500 in damages.

Any settlement should require the removing of any negative credit marks my them and all of their agents (collectors).

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From what I have read about FCO, formally Pierce, Hamilton & Stern they like to screw up your credit as much as possible. Filing with the credit bureaus immediately and doing lots of hard inquiries. My first concern is heading this off at the pass. Would a DV do this? Should I hire an attorney before doing this or file a DV immediately? I have a good paying job that requires good credit so I'm willing to spend some money to do this. My first concern is protecting my credit rating. However I feel I have been treated unethically and immorally so my second goal is to do enough damage to make them rethink their tactics.

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From what I have read about FCO, formally Pierce, Hamilton & Stern they like to screw up your credit as much as possible. Filing with the credit bureaus immediately and doing lots of hard inquiries. My first concern is heading this off at the pass. Would a DV do this? Should I hire an attorney before doing this or file a DV immediately? I have a good paying job that requires good credit so I'm willing to spend some money to do this. My first concern is protecting my credit rating. However I feel I have been treated unethically and immorally so my second goal is to do enough damage to make them rethink their tactics.

If you are in a position to get an attorney and your credit is more important than the cost, get one. A lawyer should be able to sort this out quick for you.

They have no damages for rent since another tenant was found. An I believe the promissory note would be invalid since you received nothing in exchange for it.

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I'm wondering if I need FCRA or FDCPA violations before a good lawyer is going to be interested in my case. That's one reason I wanted to know whether to fire off a DV letter right away. The other is if it will protect my credit report.

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I am writing a DV. I believe the only address FCO has is my parent's address in a different state. Which address should I use for my DV? My address in Afghanistan, my fiancee's address in the state I was living in or my parent's address?

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where do you live?

when you come back where will you live?

where are they sending all your mail now? (the ca)

regardless, i would let them know what your new address is before they start suing you in the wrong state and that will be a nightmare.

I live in Afghanistan

Maybe Virginia, not sure

I have not received mail yet.

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Anybody have a recommendation on which address I should send the DV frrom?

where do you live?
I live in Afghanistan

when you come back where will you live?

Maybe Virginia, not sure

where are they sending all your mail now? (the ca)

I have not received mail yet.
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  • 3 weeks later...

I sent a DV letter to the CA. I opened a credit monitoring service with USAA and see that the collection agency did a hard inquiry against me the day after they mailed me a collections notice. Is this a violation? I thought you had to give permission to do a hard inquiry. The attorney's I have talked with want me to settle because the $3k involved isn't worth their time. However I tried that several times and they weren't interested. I've also read that FCO never honors a pay for delete agreement.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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