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CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing HOAs, homeowners, businesses and others in real estate matters.
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I received a summons rent from three and a half years ago.

Customer Question

I received a summons for unpaid rent from three and a half years ago. This is the first communication I've received. Am I obligated to pay it after so much time has lapsed?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

The statute of limitations on breach of contract is 5 years in Idaho (for written contracts - for oral contracts it is 4 years) from the date of the breach.

If you are in receipt of a summons from a breach in your lease agreement from 3.5 years ago, the creditor/landlord is within the statute of limitations.

You will want to file an answer with the court, and prepare to defend the action. You may not have a good defense at this time, but if you do not appear and defend the matter, the plaintiff will get a judgment against you for the full amount they are asking "by default" and you will lose the opportunity to contest the matter on its merits (including contesting any errors in their calculations).

In addition, during litigation, you will have the opportunity to negotiate the debt amount - they may not have been willing to negotiate earlier, but they may be willing to revisit that now (especially if there are new factors to consider, such as potential uncollectability/bankruptcy, etc.).

  • When trying to settle a debt, creditors generally prefer lump sums over payment plans. They are often willing to accept an amount less than the full debt (the trade off is that they get a quick payment and don't have to worry about ongoing collection costs or administration). If you do not have the ability to offer a lump sum for something the creditor will accept (some will accept a small portion, while others want close to the full amount), you can try a payment plan, these are less satisfactory to the creditor (especially if they have a lien on your property already), but if you are willing to offer something with a reasonable chance to get the creditor a large amount of their debt back, you are likely to get them to accept it.

    Whenever working with a creditor, make sure that you keep your communications in writing (if you speak to someone by phone, promptly send a confirmation letter to summarize your conversation), as this will help to ensure that there is no confusion later on, and you will be able to enforce your settlement against any future collection efforts.

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