Debt Collection, Roommates, and Broken Leases

by DebtCollectionAnswers.com

Debt Collection For Housing Leases

Debt Collection For Housing Leases

We've received a lot of questions from readers about debt collection due to a broken lease, a lease terminated early (sometimes for good reason), cosigning a lease for someone else, or damages to an apartment or home after moving out. You will see many of those questions below.

There is no one-size-fits all answer to these questions, but here are some important things to keep in mind:

1. If you enter into a lease with someone else, you almost always agree to be responsible for the entire payment, even if you are splitting it with a roommate. If any amount goes unpaid, the landlord may try to collect from EACH of you for the entire amount, unless your lease says otherwise.

2. If the bill goes unpaid it may be turned over to collections or you may be sued. Either will be very damaging to your credit reports. If you've already been turned over to collections, please read our page about
what you can do about collections accounts on credit reports.

3. If you believe your landlord is unfairly charging you for damage that it shouldn't, or if you believe your landlord is putting your health or safety at risk by withholding necessary repairs, your best bet is to either talk with a housing agency with information about landlord tenant rights, or to consult an attorney with experience in landlord tenant law.

And don't forget: anytime you are contacted by a debt collector you have rights under federal law. To learn how to protect yourself, download our ebook here.

Be sure to also peruse the questions below, as they may provide helpful information.

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ex roommate and security deposit

by Mary
(Schuylerville, New York)

I live in New York State. My former roommate broke her part of our lease in an apartment, just up and left one day. I continued to pay the rent, then sued her and won. We received the security deposit back in full, can I keep it against her judgment? We have another court date for the balance of the final months rent due and I can present the checks for signing then

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Roommate won't pay their share of lease

My roommate and I both chose to break our lease at the same time. And of course we owe for it. I have been making monthly payments ever since but cant get my exroommate to pay anything. After its all paid can i sue my exroomate for half the balance? Or is there a better option to make this more fair?

Reply from DebtCollectionAnswers.com

Unfortunately "fair" is no longer an issue here. You've already discovered you got involved in a contract with someone who doesn't keep up their end of the bargain. The issue is now protecting your credit reports as best you can. You may need to pay the entire balance to avoid being sent to collections and/or sued.

You can try taking your ex-roommate to small claims court for his or her share. It should be fairly inexpensive to do so. Just remember that even if you win and obtain a judgment you still have to collect it, and that isn't always easy to do.

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Can a roommate withhold your security deposit after you break the lease if she also breaks the lease a week later?

by Audrey
(Vernon, Connecticut)

Can a roommate withhold your security deposit after you break the lease if she also breaks the lease a week later?

My ex and I rented together from July 2006 to May 2007 when I moved out early due to her infidelity, thus breaking our lease that wouldn't end until July 2007. One to two weeks later, she also moved out of our shared apartment into a smaller unit in the same complex. Did she technically also break the lease, and if so, should I have the right to my half of the security deposit from her legally? She refused to give it to me regardless of the reason for my moving out early - her infidelity and cheating in our relationship 7 months prior.

Thank you.

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broken lease

by Jorge
(Peoria, Arizona)

can i settle for a portion of balance due with collection agencies???

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Pay for Leaving Early on a Lease

by Beverly
(New Jersey)

My son who had an apartment in Philadelphia had to leave his lease early he graduated college and was offered a good job in Washington dc He gave notice but they wanted 4 months. He left end of August, paid September and gave them his security. They are billing him $2133.00 we cannot afford so I was thinking of making payments monthly but the collector said she could reduce to 1813 if I pay by credit card today.

She says she sees credit cards I can use how she sees it I don't know she is in my information or my credit report. I don't really want to put it on a credit card i would like to make payments. If I make payments directly to them and not on a ccard can they still hurt my credit?

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Can A Collection Agency Put A Collection On My Credit For A Verbal Lease I Did Not Agree To

by pamela
(homewood)

I have been placed in collection for not living out a verbal lease that i never agreed to. My original lease was over in 9/2010, i notified the apartment complex that I was closing on my house on 10/21/2010 and asked if i could extend my lease for an additional month. I was told that I would be able to extend the lease for an additional month for a $25.00 fee.

Prior to moving out of the complex after residing there since 2004 without any issues with paying my rent, I contacted the office to inquire about a final walk through. I was told that if someone was available I would be able to do a final walk through, but if no was available at the time I would receive a notification in the mail when the walk through was complete.

I did not agree with their method because I was warned by a 17 year former tenant that the complex falsify findings after the tenant move to keep the security deposit. I decided to live out my security to be on the safe side. I did clean the apartment and the carpet as listed in the lease. I have the receipt for the professional carpet cleaners. The keys were turned in on 11/1/10 after the carpet cleaners were done.

I received a letter in the mail from a collection agency representing the complex attempting to collect over $2,000.00 for not completing a verbal lease which according to them would have ended in 12/2010. There were also late fees for the two months, attorney fees, and cleaning fees.

I have made several attempts to contact the original creditor, but to no avail. The collection agency is refusing to remove the information from my credit. Is this legal?

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End of Lease and I Cannot Pay

I have a car that the lease is up on and I owe almost 8000 in mileage and takes i am on Social Security and cannot pay this what can they do?

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