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I need help, please.

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    I need help, please.

    Hello, I'm new to this but I'm in a moment of a crisis.

    I recently moved out from an apartment complex after finishing up my lease with a couple. I cleaned up everything that belonged to me, cleaned out my bathroom and my bedroom to the point of being brand new looking. Well, the couple did not, they left various things behind and their dog tore apart the floor. Months later they told me they're charging 500 for all the damages and I said I'd help them pay it. His response was "Pft no I'm not paying this."

    A month later I get a letter from a debt collection agency for $1,000 regarding the apartment. I was not the primary tenant of the place, it was him yet it was some how transferred to my name. I have school debt to pay as is and now this is added onto my name and he STILL refuses to pay for his damages that he caused but I'm the one that has to suffer for it. Is there anything that I can do to get this lifted off my name? IS there a way to put it under his?

    Whose name was on the lease? If your name was, did you get anything in writing from the landlord when you moved out documenting the condition of the apartment. There should have been an inspection at that point.

    If you have no proof of the condition when you left and damage occurred after that, you're probably out of luck unless you want to sue the other tenant who you were sharing the place with.

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      Do you qualify for legal aid? You have the option of serving papers on the lease holder and sue in Small Claims Court for sum you paid the landlord for damages. It's a lot of work and hassle since the onus of proof lays with. You need photos and evidence to prove you were not responsible for damages.

      As a renter you must protect yourself by taking pictures of accommodation when you move in and when you move out with emphasis on anything in need of repair or dirty.


        I don't think it matters if you were the primary tenant or not. If your name was on the lease then technically they can come after all parties on the lease to recover damages even if you personally weren't responsible for the damage. At that point you have two options. You can call the collection agency and explain the situation and see how much they can work with you in setting up an installment plan to pay off the $1000 and inquire if they are willing to settle for less than $1000. The other option is to sue the couple in small claims court for the amount owed in collections. The problem with that is even if you were to get a favorable judgement the court is not responsible for collecting the judgement on your behalf, you are. If they have already stiffed you trying to pay for the damages prior to going to collections its highly unlikely they will adhere to a judgement from a small claims court.

        Personally I wouldn't go the court route over $1000. You are likely going to have to front more fees to just to bring the case to a court and then spend more time and money trying to enforce the courts decision if it is in your favor. If I couldn't pick up extra hours at my full time job I would look into a temporary part time job to get this debt settled and wash my hands of the situation as quickly as possible. If you can find a way earn and save an additional $125 a week for the next 8 weeks you will have this cleaned up a lot faster than trying to go through the courts and collect from the couple that burned you.


          Was your name on the lease?


            Roommate Situation

            Unfortunately if your name was on the lease then each of you is responsible for the full amount. If you can afford to pay the full amount and get your name cleaned for future landlords, I'd recommend that. Do your roommates have any bank accounts or jobs that you could garnish if you sued them in small claims court?
            Phil Danley
            100% Debt Free since 2014