How do I avoid paying my old landlord $5000?
October 3, 2005 10:05 AM Subscribe
I moved out of an apartment abruptly in January due to extenuating circumstances (a murder in the building), now I have a bill for $5000. Lots more inside.
posted by TurkishGolds to Law & Government (17 answers total)
I was on a lease with 2 other people (three total). In the middle of December there was a horrible murder on the other side of our duplex. One of the people on the lease and I, traumatized, decided to move into a new apartment, out of the area, on January 1st. Person three decided to stay in the apartment, and he ended up living with a bunch of drug addict vagabonds who I assume never paid any rent. It was his intention to get their names on the lease in place of us, but I guess that never happened.
I had a conversation with the head of the mangement company prior to the two of us moving out, and he said that given the circumstances it would be OK for us to break the lease ... he was even willing to wave the typical $50 fee.
I called him in the middle of January, left a message, and never heard back. A few times through February and March the management company would call me looking for rent. I always explained the situation, told them that I'd like to take care of the necessary paperwork to get off of the lease for good, and that I did not indend to pay rent for any time past January 1. The answer was always, "Hmm ... I don't know anything about that, we'll have to call you back." They'd never call back.
They stopped calling, so I stopped thinking about it. Now they send us a letter saying that there's a balance of $5000 that we're responsible for in 30 days or they will take us to court.
Should I send them a letter explaining the situation ... perhaps they'll be willing to look the other way since someone was shot in the head six times about 15 feet from me? It is time for a lawyer before I contact the management company? Do I have any chance of not having to pay this money seeing as I didn't even live in the apartment?