How to deal with shady landlord sending me to collections

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by jld234, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. jld234

    jld234 New Member

    So glad I found this site! I hope someone will be able to help with my situation.

    I have a lease on an apartment in NYC that is ending 8/31. I do NOT trust my landlord (more details on his shady behavior below) so I informed him that I wanted to use my security deposit (equal to one month's rent) as my last month's rent. Technically security deposits are intended to be used only to cover damage to an apartment in NYC, but my lease does state that the deposit CAN be used for rent. He told me that I would be sent to collections if he didn't get the rent by 8/15. We didn't respond, and he told me on Monday that he had just sent me to collections. This may all be scare tactics, but I want to be prepared if he did in fact do it.

    I read the thread about sending a validation letter to the collections agency and I am prepared to do that. What I am wondering is if I should include photocopies of the relevant sections of the lease (proving the LL has my deposit in the correct amount and that the lease indicates it can be used as rent), or if I should wait to see if they respond at all before laying all my cards on the table.

    The other interesting issue about my apartment is that it is actually an illegal apartment (didn't know till after I signed a lease) which is why he isn't taking me to small claims court - a judge would throw the case out immediately. I have proof of this - a copy of the open violation on the place from the department of buildings - that outlines the illegalities. So I am additionally wondering if including a copy of these violations - which make it illegal for the LL to collect rent on the place in the first place, lease or no lease - would be helpful for my case with the agency as well.

    I have never been in this situation before, so any advice on how I can keep this off my credit report (which is otherwise very good) would be VERY greatly appreciated.
  2. Heather L

    Heather L Well-Known Member

    If you landlord is renting your apartment illegally then I would suggest consulting a lawyer in this situation. There are more issue here then whether or not your landlord can send you to collections. Thanks! Heather with BoostMyScore.NET
  3. JoshuaHeckathorn

    JoshuaHeckathorn Administrator

    If you let this go to collections, it could very well show up on your credit reports before you even hear from the CA. If your goal is to keep it off your credit reports in the first place, then it may already be too late. Of course, that's assuming the landlord just isn't trying to scare you into making the payment by telling you that he has already sent your account to collections.

    Have you thought about having a lawyer just draft a quick letter to the landlord stating the points you've shared here? It shouldn't cost you much, and that might be enough to scare him into leaving you alone and just using the money he already has towards your last month of rent. If he's operating an illegal apartment complex in the first place, he's going to want to stay under the radar as much as possible.
  4. jld234

    jld234 New Member

    I know it is a very sticky situation with a lot of issues, but I really don't have the money to get too involved with a lawyer at the moment - I just want to get out of this with my good credit score intact.

    A few follow up questions then: I thought that you had ten days from the first time you heard from a CA before anything showed up on your credit report? Also, is it such a big deal if it ends up on my report if I'm able to get it removed quickly?

    Last, I had considered having a lawyer write him a letter, but I'm not clear on what I can have a lawyer threaten him with. What would I be threatening to take the landlord to court for?

    Thanks for the responses!
  5. mijd

    mijd Well-Known Member

    I've rented an apt in Manhattan for the last 5 years until Feb of this year. I did the same as you are trying to do, used my last security dep as rent. The PM did an early inspection... when I gave notice of non-renewal checking for damages etc. I'm sure if I had done any real damage, the LL would have gone after me for last months.

    There are some websites that give tons of advice on renter and LL rights in NYC. I used one for a friend who was subleting and refused to leave after the original renter vacated.

    Joshua maybe right though it may already be too late to keep this off your CR
  6. jam237

    jam237 Well-Known Member

    Ok. If it were me.

    If you receive anything from a CA, i would send a validation out via fax, the same day.

    I would also make it as an intent to sue, with a draft of a suit naming the landlord and CA for FRAUD.

    Do not include the documentation, but the CA and landlord have far more to lose than they have to gain.

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