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ScottyMacESQ
ScottyMacESQ, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 15761
Experience:  Licensed General Practice Attorney, Texas
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I did not pay not my last month's rent on apartment before

Customer Question

Hello,
I did not pay not my last month's rent on apartment before turning in my keys and leaving my apartment last december. 6 months prior to my lease expiring my half bathroom began to leak and water would flood into the wood floorboards in the bathroom and the carpet in the master bedroom and hallway. I submitted 3 work orders for 3 separate occasions on which it happened June, Sept, Oct. Each time they sent maintenance to drop off an industrial fan to dry the carpet, but they did not address the leak. 7 weeks before my lease expired they sent a contractor in to break down the wall behind the toilet. They determined it was a broken pipe behind a cement wall. They fixed the pipe after two weeks of working on it, but they never put the wall back together behind the sink and toilet. So for the last 7 weeks of my residence, I could not use my bathroom, and the smell of the molded interior and sewage filled my apartment. They put up a black plastic bag was to cover the doorway to prevent the smell from coming into the rest of the apartment, but that didn't work. Now a year later I have a claim from NCS that I didn't pay as obligated. Do I have grounds for abandonment?and/or possible lawsuit for my apartment being uninhabitable?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. NCS is a collection agency / property management?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
a collection agency I believe, National Credit Systems
Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

So to be clear, they're seeking 7 weeks rent?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, 7 weeks prior to the end of my lease, they tore down the wall in the bathroom and put up the plastic bag over the bathroom door way. They are seeking last month's rent, plus an item removal fee.
Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

Did you complain to them (and complaints fell on deaf ears, I suppose) when they did this? Did they offer any temporary assistance, housing, etc...? And did you take pictures or have any other evidence of the living conditions (including witnesses, etc...?)

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I complained, I submitted 3 formal work orders prior to them tearing down the wall. I called the front office numerous times to explain that there was still flooding. I took pictures of the hole in the wall. My witness is my sister. She resided there with me. We let our neighbor above us know because at the time they're getting flooded also. The maintenance person said we would more than likely be moved into another unit after the assistant property manager saw the bathroom before they tore down the cement wall, but she would have to tell us that herself personally. She never spoke to us regarding it after seeing the bathroom, floors, carpet. I do have pictures of the bathroom and the wall, and the carpet I believe.
Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

I see. Did you incur any costs in moving out (that you necessarily would not have incurred if you stayed through the end of the lease)? Hotels, etc...?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
no, I moved into my current apartment by the 1st week of December, so I paid 1 months rent more than I would have if I would have waited to move until the end of December when my lease was up.
Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

Is your new lease more expensive than your old one?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

How much more?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My rent went from $625 at my old apartment to $865 at my current apartment. I reside here with my girlfriend and we split costs.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry $965, so $340 difference
Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. And how much is the collection company claiming you owe?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
$650 for last months rent
$100 late fee for said rent
$100 for carpet cleaning
$30 per item trash removal from apartment for fee for 12 items
grand total of $1210.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
anything else to add here?
Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

Apologies for the delay. I had to step away from the desk for a bit.

First of all, you should contact the debt collection company. Say that you're completely disputing the debt, and that they should reflect that in any and all reports that they make about it, as well as contacting the landlord.

Next, you should bring up the fact that you were constructively evicted from your apartment. Explain the smell and other conditions that were caused by the landlord, and that you have witnesses to. Explain that you did not have an operational bathroom, and that the leaks persisted. After numerous opportunities to repair, the landlord did not, and the inaction by the landlord amounted to a breach of the "covenant of quiet enjoyment" that landlords have with their tenants.

Explain that you were forced out of your apartment and that you DID incur costs as a result of these actions, and that if the landlord wishes to pursue you for rent, you're more than willing to countersue for wrongful eviction and the expenses that you incurred as a result of being forced to move out.

Ultimately they might determine that there's little upside to bringing a case against you. The best that they could seek is to go to court and to try to get a judgment against you.

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

Sorry, I was typing the response, but I wanted you to know that I am still here with you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
no problem thanks,
Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

You can also contest the carpet cleaning, saying that any issues with the carpet were either "reasonable wear and tear" or due to the actions / inactions of the property management.

The point is to appear that you're ready and willing to fight them on this. They're hoping for a quick payout by you. If you make it clear that they're not getting one, and that it might actually cost them money, they might cut their losses. Let them know that you're more than willing to take all the evidence of their actions and inactions, as well as the evidence of the unsanitary conditions that they were trying to get you to live in and failure to repair the necessary items. That might make them realize that it would be more hassle than it's worth.

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

Are you there? Please note that I am still here, awaiting your response or rating... (please note that rating closes this question out, so if there's nothing else, please rate it so that I can assist other customers that are waiting for answers to their questions)

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

Should I continue to await your response, or may I assist the other customers that are waiting?

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

My apologies, but I must assist the other customers that are waiting. If there's nothing else, please rate this answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time (> 1 hour) and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it 3 or more stars (good or better) AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

▼ RATING REQUIRED! ▼ Please don't forget to Rate my service positively. It's only after you rate that I am credited.

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

I see that you have not responded in some time. Please note that this question is still open until you rate it. I believe that I have answered your question, but if you have any other questions, please let me know.If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** good luck to you!

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

Hello?

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

I see that you have not responded in some time. Please note that this question is still open until you rate it. I believe that I have answered your question, but if you have any other questions, please let me know.If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** good luck to you!

Expert:  ScottyMacESQ replied 1 year ago.

I see that you STILL have not responded in some time. Please note that this question is still open until you rate it. I believe that I have answered your question, but if you have any other questions, please let me know.If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, ***** ***** good luck to you!