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Im being sued in Small Claims Court for a refund of $1100

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I'm being sued in Small...
I'm being sued in Small Claims Court for a refund of $1100 for 1st and last rent. Plaintiff claims she didn't sign anything stating that it was not-refundable. I have copy of the receipt of $1100, signed on 4/17/09, for quote: “1st & last rent for $550/mo. from 5/1/09 to 5/30/09. She also claims she doesn’t have key to apartment (lie – I gave her a key).
She was to move in 5/1/09 but called me on 4/20/09 saying that she will not be taking the apartment after all that she needs the money because of an emergency to fly to Florida because her father was dying of cancer. I feel I only owe her $550 for the last month, but $550 is mine for the first month (even if she refuses to move in).
The Rental Application she signed also has a separate signature line all in caps specifically for: quote, “REQUIREMENT: ONE (1) MONTH’S NOTICE TO VACATE; I ACCEPT THIS CONDITION:_______(signature)”.
Is this a clear and cut case; if not, what strategy should I take? What’s my legal position?
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Business Law
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5/4/2009
Business Lawyer: Infolawyer, Attorney replied 8 years ago
Infolawyer
Infolawyer, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 58,056
Experience: Experienced lawyer
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You appear to have a strong defense to have the case dismissed provided you can have the above document to show payment received and also provided you can prove key returned.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
I don't have proof that I gave the key to the apartment - so it's just their word against mine, but I do have the document to show payment received. This is in Fall River, MA.
Business Lawyer: Infolawyer, Attorney replied 8 years ago
The burden is on them and the court wont award monetary fees absent proof that you didnt. I dont see a concern for you in this case and the court should dismiss it.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
I'm NOT accepting this answer - it's too vague. I wasn't given any specific info. I already knew didn't hane concern, but I wanted a LEGAL answer - some specifics.
Business Lawyer: Infolawyer, Attorney replied 8 years ago
Not every legal question requires legalese. Here the plaintiff bares the burden of providing proof of its claims and of an injury. If you can show due payment, there is no injury. Lack of return of a key even if proven would only result in a nominal damages.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
You're not speaking specifically in my language. You avoid direct/specific answers to my direct/specific question. I'm not satisfied and do NOT accept your answer.
Business Lawyer: Infolawyer, Attorney replied 8 years ago
You asked about proof of payment which you have documents showing payment was received. You asked about the key which I have said would have no injury or nominal at best. You asked about strategy which would ivolve producing the documents before the judge and asking the case be dismissed. I am interested in answering anything else you want to know if there is something else left unanswered.   
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
ok, I'll try one more time! Payment was received by me and I have my copy of the receipt I gave them. Does this payment receipt show that there's some kind of contract for them to rent the apartment and that they can't just change their mind???
Business Lawyer: Infolawyer, Attorney replied 8 years ago
Yes it does. Also keep in mind that since she signed the document she is bound by it as well. You have the signed document and you have payment both key pieces of evidence.   
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
see what I mean - she did NOT sign the receipt, I did, since I'm the one who received the money! Are you referring to the Application as the document?
Customer reply replied 8 years ago
see what I mean - she did NOT sign the receipt, I did, since I'm the one who received the money! Are you referring to the Application as the document?

Business Lawyer: Infolawyer, Attorney replied 8 years ago
She need not sign the receipt. If there is an application signed by her which amounts to a lease she is bound by it.   
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