Previous apartment complex says we owe it money

by Jade
(albuquerque nm us)

So a few weeks ago my family and I were looking for a new apartment, we found one but later in the weeks they called to inform us that we had been denied because a previous aparment complex is stating that we owe them $4000 dollars 3 years later. We were never late on our payments but they are stating that we owe that in damages and for having to cancel our lease less then a month early because I had lost my job. We did not leave $4000 worth of damges they very slyly did our walk thru after we moved out without our presence, and stated that we left the place trashed. We have rented many other times and have had no issues but because we put in our notice where we are now they have our place to be rented out and we now have no place to go.

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Mar 19, 2011
Previous Apartment Complex Says We Owe it Money
by: Debt Collection Answers

Although your problem may not be easy (or quick) to resolve, it's important that you try given that the apartment complex's claims could haunt you for years. Most apartment complex managers are going to check with your former landlords about what you were like as a tenant and if the information they receive is negative, they are probably not going to want to rent to you as you've already found out, regardless of whether the information is true or not. Also, if your former landlord took you to court and got a judgment against you for your unpaid rent and the damage it alleges you caused (You did not mention in your question if you had been sued.) then potential landlords will learn about the judgment when they review your credit history.

If you truly believe that you did not cause damage to your former apartment, then I recommend that you ask the complex manager for a written accounting of that damage, including copies of any photos it may have taken of the damage and how much it cost to repair the damage. Compare that information to the information that was recorded during the walk-through you should have done with your former landlord prior to moving in to your apartment. (You should have received a copy of the walk- through information.) The comparison will tell you whether any of the damage the complex claims you caused existed before you became a tenant. Also, review your former lease to determine what is says about normal wear and tear because landlords are responsible for taking care of repairs to a unit that are the result of normal wear and tear. You want to make sure that the cost of such repairs are not included in the $4,000.

If after reviewing all of this information you continue to believe that you did not do $4,000 in damage to your former apartment, get in touch with an attorney in your community who specializes in landlord/tenant law. If money is tight for you, check to see if there is a Legal Aid office in your area or a landlord/tenant's council. Another option is to contact your local or state bar association to find out if it can put you in touch with an attorney who can help you for free or on a sliding scale basis according to your income. Note: If you are unable to obtain from your former landlord the information I am advising you get, schedule an appointment with an attorney anyway because the attorney may be able to help you get the information for you.

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