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JSCR

Need advice on a lease / collection that is not mine.

9 posts in this topic

I recently was declined for a promotion at work due to a collection that is showing up on my credit report.  I disputed with the transunion, experian, and equifax.  I just received letters stating that they have determined that the debt is mine, along with a letter from a collection company called Resolve Partners LLC.  The letter they sent me was for a house lease from April of 2010.  This was the first lease I had ever signed.  Prior to this I lived with family while finishing school.  The lease was with me and another person.  I was not going to be moving in until July as I was getting sent out of state for a 3 month assignment.  When I went to move in, I discovered that the other person had two other individuals living there with her.  Since they were not on the lease, I did not want them staying there, I did not want to be responsible for them and more than that, it was not what I had signed up for.  I tried to talk to her about them leaving, but she refused.  I immediately sent a letter to the property management company, informed them what was happening, told them I had not moved in yet, that I would not be moving in, that I wanted to be removed from the lease and that the other tenant agreed to have me removed from the lease.  I never heard back from them or the other tenant and assumed everything was taken care of.  Fast forward to the end of 2010, I received a call from the property management for maintenance at the home, I explained to them that I did not live there and I was not on the lease, he apologized and I never heard from them again.  

 

I continued living with family until June of 2011, when I moved in with my girlfriend.  Her father was sick, she was taking care of him and living in his guest house, we had recently found out that we were expecting a daughter and she wanted me to move in with her.  I already was staying there much of the time anyways.  Her father started to recover and we decided to move out on our own in July of 2012.  We rented an apartment together from July of 2012 until September of 2013.  We had a 1 year lease, following that we decided to go month-to-month while we were searching for a house to buy.  The price of our apartment jumped from $1100 a month to almost $1900 a month by moving to a month-to-month agreement, so we decided to move back in with family in September of 2013 until we found and closed the house that we now live in.  

 

Late 2015, I found myself unemployed, I was let go from the company that I had spent the last 5 years with.  Fortunately, I had saved up quite a bit, so I decided to take a 3 month break of the 50-60 hour weeks I had been doing to spend time with our family, visit family in other states, with the intent of starting my job search after the holidays.  January 2016, I started my search, and found it difficult to land something.  I kept getting letters back after they did background/credit checks.  Finally a company told me that they found a large collection on my credit report, wanted it resolved before they would offer a position... The collection was for almost $5000!  I had no way to try to pay or resolve it, looked up the company and sent a letter asking what it was and never received anything back.  Needless to say, I did not get that position and I didn't know what to do.  That took the back seat, while I frantically searched for work.  We used up the majority of our savings but managed to keep up with all of our bills.  Summer of 2016, thankfully, I started working again and have started to rebuild our savings a little and pay off credit card debt that was accumulated during the time I was not working.  

 

I applied for a position that would be a promotion for me and got turned down, during background/credit check, it was the collection that I had forgot about while trying to land something so we could keep up with our mortgage.  This time, I disputed with the credit reporting agencies and that is where I am at now.  I don't know what to do, I did not send the letter informing them that I wanted off the lease certified, so I have no proof that they received it.  Included in the packet they sent me in response to my dispute, was an itemized list of all charges, damages and outstanding balances.

 

$1104 in rent, $161 in late charges, $50 5 day notice, $200 leasing fee, $27 loss management fee, $2468 turn over repairs, $185 yard service, $95 electric while vacant, $99 water sewer trash while vacant, $75 for locks, $50 for garage remotes, $100 for a missing window screen, $872 for carpet replacement.  Total they claimed was $5488.59.  There was a $750 security deposit.  Balance they claim I owe them is $4738.59.  

 

They listed the move in date of 4/1/2010 and a move out date of 8/1/2014 with a lease expiration of 3/31/2015.  They state that they received notice 7/28/2014.  On this page it lists myself and the other individual from 2010.  I feel like I am getting completely screwed by this, just because I was naive and didn't know better than to send the letter certified.  Not only did I spend almost $3500 between deposits, upfront fees and rent in the home while I was out of state, now I am being hit with this collection and being rejected for a promotion.  I truly believe that had this collection not been on my credit I would have avoided being unemployed so long, and avoided having to use up my savings.  

 

What should I do?  What options do I have?

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@JSCR

Unfortunately, you signed the contract.   Even if you could prove you sent a letter stating that you changed your mind and no longer wanted to live there, it may not have sufficed.  You may need to contact an attorney to find out your options.   An attorney might need to see a copy of the lease.

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WAY WAY too much unnecessary detail but several issues:

1 hour ago, JSCR said:

This was the first lease I had ever signed.  

You signed the lease.  That makes you legally responsible for the FIRST term of the lease.

1 hour ago, JSCR said:

 I never heard back from them or the other tenant and assumed everything was taken care of.

Clearly you know now not to assume everything is taken care of.  You get it in WRITING from the LL that you are released from the obligation.

1 hour ago, JSCR said:

They listed the move in date of 4/1/2010 and a move out date of 8/1/2014 with a lease expiration of 3/31/2015.

THIS is your leverage.  Was the first lease term from 4/1/2010 to 3/31/2011?  If so, then you are only liable for any financial issues during THAT TIME period.  If the roommate renewed the lease then who signed for you on the renewals?  ANY lease renewal I have ever done with a roommate required BOTH of us to sign.  I would argue that the roommate did not have the authority to renew the lease in MY name and any charges after 3/31/2011 are solely the responsibility of the ex-roommate.  You may need a lawyer to handle this but I would consult one ASAP.  

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21 hours ago, BV80 said:

@JSCR

Unfortunately, you signed the contract.   Even if you could prove you sent a letter stating that you changed your mind and no longer wanted to live there, it may not have sufficed.  You may need to contact an attorney to find out your options.   An attorney might need to see a copy of the lease.

Yep, I totally get that I signed it, but that was also 7 years ago for a 1 year lease(2010-2011), where I notified them in writing and by phone that I wanted out of the lease, I feel like the most they could have done is try to get me for something that happened in the first year, but she stayed there up until 2014, based on what they sent.  They are charging me for rent in 2014, and damages that occurred long after I had signed papers.  I don't know the first step to finding an attorney that would work on this, and unfortunately, I don't have the money for one right now.  I guess I'm out of luck on this for now.

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20 hours ago, Clydesmom said:

WAY WAY too much unnecessary detail but several issues:

You signed the lease.  That makes you legally responsible for the FIRST term of the lease.

Clearly you know now not to assume everything is taken care of.  You get it in WRITING from the LL that you are released from the obligation.

THIS is your leverage.  Was the first lease term from 4/1/2010 to 3/31/2011?  If so, then you are only liable for any financial issues during THAT TIME period.  If the roommate renewed the lease then who signed for you on the renewals?  ANY lease renewal I have ever done with a roommate required BOTH of us to sign.  I would argue that the roommate did not have the authority to renew the lease in MY name and any charges after 3/31/2011 are solely the responsibility of the ex-roommate.  You may need a lawyer to handle this but I would consult one ASAP.  

I appreciate your response.  Yes, the original lease that I signed was from 4/2010 to  3/2011, but upon reading the lease they mailed me, it had stated that the lease would automatically renew if they were not notified in writing within 30 days, but I notified them just a few months after the start of the lease.  I don't know what to do from here, how to find an attorney that does this and don't have the money to pay for an attorney right now.  

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2 hours ago, JSCR said:

Yes, the original lease that I signed was from 4/2010 to  3/2011, but upon reading the lease they mailed me, it had stated that the lease would automatically renew if they were not notified in writing within 30 days, but I notified them just a few months after the start of the lease.  

Start with a letter titled "Intent To Sue" and in it I would state that on [date] I mailed the landlord a letter indicating I was not going to be living at [address] and that I wished to be removed from the lease.  Any renewal of the lease after that date was between [roommate] and the landlord as well as any damages and monies owed from 2014, 3 years after the lease I signed expired.  Also well after written notice I never intended to reside there or renew the lease.

I would demand they cease collection activities and remove the trade line from the credit reports within 10 business days or I would proceed with a small claims case against them.

My guess is they came after you because they know she is a deadbeat.   The ITS letter should get them to fold if not I would do a free consult with a consumer attorney to see what your options are before filing in small claims as there could be larger damages you could pursue and they might take the case on contingency.

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I agree with the Intent to Sue letter.

Also, I would send another letter to all 3 CRAs and dispute this again as "too old to report".  This is within 6 years, and arguably 7 years old.  They can not report a negative collection for more than 7 years on your report.   Saying it is "too old" may get it removed a few months early and at least allow you to proceed with the job application.

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On 4/3/2017 at 3:29 PM, Clydesmom said:

Start with a letter titled "Intent To Sue" and in it I would state that on [date] I mailed the landlord a letter indicating I was not going to be living at [address] and that I wished to be removed from the lease.  Any renewal of the lease after that date was between [roommate] and the landlord as well as any damages and monies owed from 2014, 3 years after the lease I signed expired.  Also well after written notice I never intended to reside there or renew the lease.

I would demand they cease collection activities and remove the trade line from the credit reports within 10 business days or I would proceed with a small claims case against them.

My guess is they came after you because they know she is a deadbeat.   The ITS letter should get them to fold if not I would do a free consult with a consumer attorney to see what your options are before filing in small claims as there could be larger damages you could pursue and they might take the case on contingency.

I'm not sure if it is as good as having a return receipt from a certified letter, but when I was digging through my filing cabinet, I did find the letter that I sent.  It states that I wanted off the lease immediately and that I would not be renewing the lease.  Along with it, I found the fax confirmation that it was received.  Should I send this with the letter of intent to sue or is fax not accepted to terminate a lease?  If it makes any difference, they allowed me to fax them to get the lease in the first place.

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13 minutes ago, JSCR said:

It states that I wanted off the lease immediately and that I would not be renewing the lease.  Along with it, I found the fax confirmation that it was received.  Should I send this with the letter of intent to sue or is fax not accepted to terminate a lease?

Good job finding that letter and fax confirmation!  I would enclose a copy of it with the ITS letter and amend the letter to openly state "per the enclosed copy of the letter you received by fax on [date] I cancelled the lease and stated I would not be renewing.  Any charges after [date at end of lease] are not legally mine."

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