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Thomas McJD
Thomas McJD, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 46
Experience:  Landlord-Tenant Law Expert
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My daughter moved out of an apartment in Arizona. She could

Customer Question

My daughter moved out of an apartment in Arizona. She could not afford the rent and was beyond her lease agreement, so she just moved out. She only owed about $500 in back rent and only had damaged blinds and a stain on the carpet. Folks familiar with the apartment told me replacement of the blinds was anywhere from $100 to $200 and the stain repair was an additional $150. Anyhow, my daughter had to move into a mission after she turned her key in. Fast forward about 4 months, she gets a bill from a collection agency that shows the repairs at $1,400, legal fee of $1,700 and the tacked back rent and also claim she did not turn her key in (which I know she did). They are suing her for a whopping $4,000. My daughter is mentally slow and I can't believe they would try to take advantage of her in this way. The day I called her and advised her to leave, we figured she would owe around $800 (about $500 for backrent and $300 for repairs). She was month to month and did not have a renewed lease to fill. When she went to the mission, she did not have an address and tried to get one as soon as she could. She is now working two jobs at different McDonald locations. I really feel like the apartment place is taking advantage of her. My daughter is very clean and took great care of this apartment. What do we do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Daniel Melnyk, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Having been a victim of "double paints" and "excessive cleaning" to keep deposits, I hear your plight. Fortunately Arizona has good laws in the books to protect victims. Please see A.R.S. Section 33. There are many laws on the books to guide you on your journey to fight ridiculous and abusve damage claims. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This does not help me much. I understand what it says. I just don't know what to initiative next on my daughter's behalf. The collection agency says we have to prove the apartment complex of breaking laws by proving they are being unlawful and charging obsessive charges. So, do I get an attorney, do I call the cops? I have no idea what action to take or who to call. That law means nothing unless it is being used in some way.
Expert:  Daniel Melnyk, Esq replied 1 year ago.

The first thing to do is to send a certified letter to the third party collection agency to dispute the charges. Since the third party collection agency falls within the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the collector has to provide verification of the debt with information. This forces the collection agency to validate the debt themselves since they usually do not investigate the debt on there own, i.e., if if the debtor does not dispute the debt in writing within 30 days of notice, the debt collector assumes that the debt is legitimate. If you are unsuccessful disputing the debt after the collection agency verifies the debt, I would hire an attorney. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I talked to the debt collector. They are sending my daughter a copy of the charges. I said we wanted to dispute it. They said since my daughter did not go through the exit inspection with the apartment manager, she is on the hook. They basically said they would notate the account and give us a chance to prove the apartment complex is in violation. That is the part I don't know what to do about. I asked the apartment complex to send me a copy of the receipts they paid someone to fix the apartment and they refuse to talk to me or provide anything. Also, the debt collector already turned my daughter's name over to the credit bureau.
Expert:  Daniel Melnyk, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Please give me the debt collectors number and I will gather the necessary information.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They are "National Credit Systems"; their phone number is(###) ###-####
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I did not know when you were going to respond.