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Newby: 2nd CA has validated debt with copy of lease, is this proof of debt?


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Hello forum

sorry if this has been repeated, i will try to keep brief.

Apartment lease (NYC): ended lease 4 months early, notified management company and was advised that i could find a replacement tenant so as to not violate terms. Found great new tenant, felt like I satisfied management company. So I then signed lease on new apartment in different state (hour away). I was trying hard here to making as smooth a move as i could with my 6 year old and was doing this on his summer break.

Original management (NYC) now told me they were going to increase rent several hundred $$ at the time new tenant moves in. I asked the management to not do that as I knew it would fall apart. It did, future tenant walked away and realistically the price was way too high to get anyone at the price they wanted. I was furious, I just left at that point. Received summons for housing court, this was dismissed (in this court) as I was no longer at previous address. I was told it would go to civil court but it went to a CA instead. Sent DV letter in time and didn't hear back for almost 2 months. Then I received new CA letter which I think is a JDB, he has sent me a copy of lease and amount owed (which i feel is incorrect). I sent another DV letter to him and received another photocopy of signed lease and his NY state registration #.

My question and advice is first is this proper validation of debt as it is not showing how he acquired it. Even if he is a licensed attorney he is still a CA or JDB? I felt that I would do better in court then negotiate with them (Building, CA, JBD)

I am currently in a financial rut and paying the amount they are asking (<$7k) would sink me.

My past employer had no contract with me to keep me employed :evil:. But this contract with the building is wearing me out.

I understand after further reading and talking that the building could raise the rent to what ever they wanted when the new tenant would move in. I just find it so distasteful as this could of been solved. They are charging me for 3 months and 28 days of one month (not feb :roll:) plus <$300 for attorney fees amounted in housing court.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

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The FDCPA requirements to satisfy a DV request are spelled out and very limited. They do not have to provide what you ask for. They only have to provide what the FDCPA says, which is basically to validate (effectively identify) the debt and that it is true (in their computer). If they stated the original creditor and amount now owed in either the first communication or the response to the DV, they satisfied the weak FDCPA requirement.

They do not have to show proof of debt. If it gets to court, you or your attorney can demand they show that proof. They might be able to given the short time frame.

Have you considered bankruptcy as an option? It may or may not be appropriate for you. Since you say you are in a financial rut AND $7k would sink you, that seems so to me, but I don't know your entire personal situation.

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We really need a sticky or something else easy to locate that address the issue of DV being not what someone asks or demands. I know there are letters on here that many use that basically ask for everything under the sun. Those are fine, but need a disclaimer that all those requests are not legally required to be provided.

DV is the lowest of threshold there is. It's an even lower threshold than prima facie evidence.

I think it would help new posters and others if there was a DV, FAQ thread or at least some disclaimers that just because you ask or demand, it does not have to be provided.

To the OP,

Yes a copy of the lease is legally sufficient DV. In fact, it is a lot more than they are required to provide.

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I agree that what they have provided meets the FDCPA requirements. But all that means is that now they are entitled to continue/resume their attempts to collect, i.e., letters and phone calls.

But I'll go a step further: You shouldn't even care whether or not this meets the "requirements," except to know who currently is demanding the money: the original landlord, or have they sold the debt. That isn't the battle you should be fighting. You know what this is about, and you don't think you owe them money. And based upon what you've written, I agree.

Let's recap:

With 4 months left on your lease, you talked to the management company about moving out, and were told if you found a new tenant (a sublet?) you would not be in violation of the lease. So even if the lease said you couldn't sublet, you had a verbal agreement that overrode it.

You found a new tenant, and only afterwards did they raise rent. You say the paperwork allows them to do that, but by not telling you that when you first spoke to them, you had no reason to believe and no way to know they were even contemplating an increase.

Bottom line is, you don't want to deal with the collection agency. They can't do anything for you. They may be authorized to settle for lesser amount, but they can't do anything about the underlying issue: they think you owe, you think you don't. Basically, if they're out any rent, it's their own fault. They caused the damages to themselves.

So, you write to the collection people that you dispute the debt, and not to contact you again, as you will work with the original creditor.

Then you write a letter to property management people saying that you've been contacted by collectors, but you dispute that you owe money and have told them not to contact you anymore. Now the creditor can't just tell you to talk to the collector. Explain why you feel you don't owe: they never mentioned a rent increase, you found a tenant like they told you to, and then they raised the rent (to an amount that was above market value) and the new tenant backed out. Tell them if they don't withdraw their claims, they will have to take you to court.

Then, do some other things: Contact the new tenant who bailed and have them sign a document that they had been prepared to assume the lease for the original terms of X$, but the landlord then raised the rent to unreasonable levels. You might want to get it notarized, or maintain contact information with them in case they need to testify in court. Collect apartment listings or whatever information you can to justify your claim that they were requesting an unreasonable rent increase.

Also, they can only make a claim against you for the time the apartment was vacant, and they're supposed to make a good faith effort to rent out the apartment. So try to find out if and when they got a new tenant. In court, you are going to ask them to prove they tried to rent out the apartment. If they let it sit idle for 4 months, that's further evidence they were demanding a rent that was unreasonable. I have no first hand knowledge of the NYC apartment situation, except what I get from watching Friends and How I Met Your Mother on TV, but my impression is that NYC apartments are hard to find, and are in high demand, which is why rents are so high. So the only reason an apartment would sit vacant is if it's uninhabitable or if the rent is too high.

If the property management company allowed this unit to sit vacant for 4 months, that's something the property owner would probably like to know. Write another letter to the owner of property, giving them all this same information about your unfair treatment.

Good luck.


Edited by debtorshusband
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