How do I protect myself against fake financial claims from a former landlord?
I lost my job in the spring due to coronavirus and couldn't pay rent for over two months. Before the moratorium ran out I told my then landlord that I couldn't keep up with the rent and would just move out which I did. The landlord seemed glad I was willing to go without him needing to file for eviction. I left the state (Indiana) to live with family. It's been almost three months since I left and I thought all was well until I got a forwarded letter at my aunt's house (don't know he got th address or if that's legal) from my former landlord claiming I owe him back rent plus late fees. This man TOLD me that I could just leave so he could rerent the house to somebody who wasn't struggling but now he's saying I just up and left without paying him like I creeped out in the middle of the night. He never sent me any notice or paperwork about back rent or fees before we MUTUALLY AGREED that I would move out. He basically said he would tear up my lease if I left without a fuss. So how can he legally claim I owe him anything now months later?
- Common SenseLv 71 month ago
His consideration was for you to break the lease without penality....not leave and never pay him for the two months back rent.
You lived there, so you need to pay the man for two months worth of rent. Where do you get off on thinking you owe him nothing? You do realize he probably has a mortgage payment. Why should HE pay YOUR rent costs?
You need to grow up a d pay the man for YOUR living expenses.
- linkus86Lv 71 month ago
Your motivation to move to avoid an eviction was the smart thing to do, but that didn't mean you were being given a free pass to on all the unpaid rent and late fee's that had accumulated before you left. The Landlord is legally due this money. The notice you apparently lack exists in the original contract that you agreed to pay rent. No more notice is required. The eviction moratorium did not nullify rent owed, just prevented landlords from evicting.
What the landlord can't do is try to collect rent money, or continued late payment penalties, after your mutual agreement to move, even if your were contractually obligated to do so, but it doesn't sound like he is. If you don't pay, expect to be sued in small claims. That unpaid judgement will serve as a hurdle to getting a new apartment but not nearly as bad as an eviction judgement. Good Luck.
- Anonymous1 month ago
Are you insane? You owe him that money. Don't be a deadbeat. Pay the man
- Anonymous1 month ago
I'm with the others. He was nice to let you break the lease, because that removed immediate income for him and also created extra expense (like getting cleaners in). The whole point of a lease is that each party "promises" something to the other.
So to me he's being very fair. Many landlords would say you owe for the remainder of the lease, and he excused you from that. But of course you still owe him for the 2 months you lived there. I'm sure you misunderstood what he was saying if you thought he simply wrote that money off. I would call him and work out a payment plan. It will also help if you apologize for all this.
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- SSP Bowl DudeLv 71 month ago
Shouldn't that question be: "How do I screw over my former landlord out of rent and late charges that I owe and have no intention of paying?"?
- Ron AkiaLv 61 month ago
As he released you from the obligations of fulfilling the terms of the remainder of the lease, he acted properly in fulfilling what he promised. However, you still owe for the payments that were missed. Perhaps, if you contact him, he'll be willing to accept payments over a period of time which could ease your financial burdon somewhat.
- ?Lv 71 month ago
You do owe him the back rent. He let you out of your lease which meant you weren't liable for rent from the time you left until the end of the lease, which he could have charged you for breaking your lease. You don't get a free pass to live there without paying rent just because you lost your job. Make arrangements with him to pay what you owe.
- babyboomer1001Lv 71 month ago
You don't seem to understand how a contract works, or one involving a landlord & tenant. Of course - he has no control over your leaving if you want to, but that does not give you the right to abandon your lease, which is what you did. You owe rent for the months the place remained empty, after you left, up to the time he gets a new tenant in the apartment. You DO owe what you call back rent - there's no such thing. What you mean is rental arrears. Why would he sent you paperwork about arrears of rent or late fees when you know very well what they are? Your lease states exactly how much is due and when and landlord's never sent a monthly invoice for rent due. Never! What is due is written in the lease. You are supposed to know you owe it, and late fees always apply if you fail to pay on time. So you two "mutually agreed" that you would move out. Did you think he would roll up his sleeves and fight you, telling you that you can't move out? You must be an idiot if you think he could hold you there. Maybe he should have tied you to the kitchen table, preventing you from leaving, since that's what you seem to imply should have been done, as the opposite of a mutual agreement. He did not "basically" say anything. If he was going to tear up the lease, he would have done it in your face, and he could not do that because he is running a business. He has the IRS to report to, and he has to justify all expenses. Are you stupid or just naive? You cannot get out of paying a debt that you owe. It was a valid lease. Covid only deferred evictions for a short time. You were not evicted, and the lease is valid. It has always been valid. Pay your debt, or he will sue you. And don't think you can run from service. He will serve you publicly. That will cost you a few hundred bucks, which varies by state.Source(s): Certified Paralegal, with 25+ years' experience & with Landlord & Tenant law experience.
- n2mamaLv 71 month ago
The time to protect yourself was when you reached the agreement about leaving. Before you moved out, you were in rent arrears, and you don’t indicate that you have paid him anything toward that, so at a minimum you do owe that past due rent for the time you were living there, plus applicable late fees. Moving out doesn’t mean you no longer owe the money for the time you were living there, at best it minimizes the additional money he can go after you for. Sorry, but you are going to have to pay up here, as the judge will almost certainly rule against you.
- JudyLv 71 month ago
Uh, you still owe him for the time you were still there.