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As a tenant, I have some questions regarding an accounting…

Hi, as a tenant...

Hi, as a tenant, I have some questions regarding an accounting mistake made by my apartment complex. After charging me $X, the property managers suddenly sent me an invoice for the accounting adjustments for the last three months. How can that legally happen? What grounds do I have as a tenant?

Lawyer's Assistant: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

Texas

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?

Nothing other than a conversation with the manager

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Not necessarily--think that's it

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/14/2018
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 13,332
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thanks. Please take your time

Thanks so much for your patience.

Were you aware that there was an accounting mistake?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Not that I'm aware. They sent me monthly invoices and I diligently paid without fault
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I remember the written letter with increased rates because my lease was going month-to-month. Upon the January invoice (the first month of the month-to-month rent) I remember thinking the rate was lower than they had quoted me but I figured it was a grandfather policy because a new property owner took ownership since the notification of increased rent

I see what you mean. Ok, so you may have a defense to paying this back amount. A defense to a breach of contract (e.g. you not paying those three months worth of money) is mistake. A court can declare that there is a mistake made by both parties as to the assumption on which the contract was based. For example, if both parties made an assumption that a certain event would occur, but the event does not occur, then the contract is voidable. There's also something called unilateral mistake wherein if one party makes a mistake and the other party is not aware and could not reasonably have been aware of the mistake, then that party is not required to make up for the other party's mistake.

In your case, if the accounting error wasn't obvious and if you had no reason to know of this mistake, then you could use that as a defense if they tried to take it further.

As a practical matter, you may want to consider asking them if you could pay it back over time if it's not a huge amount. Otherwise, you're welcome to not pay it and call their bluff on making you pay.

What other questions did you have for me today that I can help you out with:-)?

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you--very helpful. This is 100% mistake, as you've defined. And thank you for the practical advice. If I decided to seek an attorney, roughly how much would something like this cost? (Just trying to weigh the options to see if it's just easiest to make the adjustment)

You're welcome. Because this is a personal injury issue, most attorneys would take this on contingency; something around 30-40% of any recovery that you get, plus costs (filing, faxing, printing, etc.).

Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 13,332
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Legal Eagle and 87 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Thank you! Have a great one

You too. Thanks and feel better!

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