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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 118750
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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On 8/7/2012 I signed an apartment lease in Wichita Falls, TX.

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On 8/7/2012 I signed an apartment lease in Wichita Falls, TX. The term on the lease was 6 months and the manager hand-wrote a change to a 5 month lease as I advised her the job I was on was ending in December. I paid prorated August rent beginning 8/9/2012, a $150 deposit and an additional non-refundable pet deposit of another $150. I verbally gave the manager notice when November rent was paid that I would not be renewing the lease when it expired in December and she thanked me for the notice. I paid full December rent and departed on 12/20/2012. When I turned in my keys, I had a ledger credit of $212.18. I advised her some cleaning would be needed due to my dog. No mention or discussion regarding any additionall charges or penalties was made. My forwarding address was on file with the manager. I never received a final accounting of the deposit, but was not concerned due to the small amount and the knowledge that they would do some cleaning. Ten months later, October 2013, I received a notice from a collection agency claiming I owe $1,835.71 to the apartment complex. I disputed this and requested details. I received a statement outlining $210.31 was deducted from deposit for cleaning and final water bill, which I do not dispute. Additional disputed charges totaling $1,987.58 are: $242.58 Insufficient Notice Penalty Charges, $635.00 Lease Termination Fee, $600.00 Lost Rent/No Notice and $510.00 Reletting Fee/No Notice. I have moved twice since this time and am not presently able to locate my copy of the lease. I need to know how to proceed. Thank you.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

You need to send them a letter disputing the charges and demand they send you a copy of the lease proving the debt. The problem you have is not having the copy of the lease. Without the copy of the lease you might end up having to sue them in court in Texas for breach of contract to prove the fact that your lease was only for 5 months, as this is right now only your word without a copy of the lease. You need to try to contact the manager to get a copy of your old lease. If they cannot produce a lease either, then this is good for you as well because then you can argue they have no copy to prove their claims either. Unfortunately, you will need an attorney in Texas to represent you on this issue, but from what your above statement says you should end up being able to defeat them in court on breach of contract.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you. XXXXX am now in California, is it possible for me to deal with the Texas courts long-distance? Is there any statute on the time the debt can be claimed or what is considered a "reasonable" fee?

Thank you for your response.

TX will require personal appearance which is why I said you will need an attorney there to assist you. They have 4 years to sue over this debt in Texas under the statute of limitations. Reasonable fees for damages are based on whatever the reasonable cost of cleaning and repairs were. As far as the other fees to charge them to you they have to be set in your lease.
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