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azsnow

CA attempting to collect a debt from apartment "damages" that I never knew about

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I broke a lease in August 2013, and was informed by the office staff that I would have to pay a concession fee of around $1200, but I never heard any more about it. I recently pulled my credit report and found that this account was assigned to a CA. I sent a validation letter to the CA, and they sent me two pieces of paper, the final page of my lease, showing my signature, and a move out form, which was not done in my presents, that listed a cleaning fee of around $150, and Damages at around $500, along with numerous other fees. The apartment was clean and there wasn't any damage to the property. I had lived in this apartment for four years, and moved for school after receiving a last minute acceptance letter.

 

How do I proceed from this point? I attempted to get an apartment in another city, and was denied, obviously this was the cause.

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So is what you owe the $1200 plus the $150 plus the $500 (so total of $1850) or just the $650 for cleaning and damages and is the old apartment anywhere near you? Also, did you leave a security deposit and do you have proof that you gave the old landlord your new address? Finally, did you take photos prior to moving out?

The problem is, you will have a hard time renting another apartment until you clear this up and depending on the amount and the issue, that can take time as you can be sure that they will fight. You will also probably have to go where the old apartment is to fight this. You could pay the CA and then sue both of them for damages to get your money back but again, you are out the money, have a long fight, and you have to go back to where the old apartment is.
 

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No, the total is around $1250, and thus I assumed that this was the concession fee. We had lived there for so long, that after the first year, the deposit was used as rent for the first month of the new contract. I now live in NC, and the apartment is in AZ. We didn't take any pictures, as we didn't think this was going to be an issue.

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The problem is, you would have to go back to Arizona to fight this and you would have to prove you left the place clean and in good repair minus 4 years of wear and tear. It would cost you more than $1250 to do that since you cannot recoup your travel fees.

Your choices are either pay the bill and move on considering this a stupid tax (will teach you to take pictures and keep everything in writing) or ignore this putting up with the issues it will cause. If you chose to pay, try to settle for less than the full amount since you feel you do not owe anything anyways. Expect a tough negotiation and get the final settlement in writing. If you chose to not pay, send a C&D letter and see if they try to sue you in North Carolina. They probably won't if it is a local AZ debt collector.

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You can also contact the old landlord and request an itemized bill for all the charges they are talking about. If they old landlord refuses to provide a bill, I suggest using that in negotiations and it will be harder for them to prove in court if you demand that.

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