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Problem with Former Landlord- Adverse Effect on Credit?

Problem with Former Landlord- Adverse Effect on Credit?

Old Oct 11th 2004, 4:16 am
  #1  
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Default Problem with Former Landlord- Adverse Effect on Credit?

I don't know if any of you have experienced similar or can direct me to answers to my current predicament...

My former landlord is asking me to stump up for charges he claims are due following a "walkthrough" after I vacated my former apt.

The problem is that I wasn't present at the walkthrough (I wasn't informed when it would occur) and I'm disputing at least two thirds of the amount that's said to be owed.

An interesting twist to the situation is that I wasn't required to put down a deposit at the time I began renting. The requirement was waived by the landlord.

Two other interesting factors are:
in the landlord's lease it states that the company would inform me within 30 days of any charges due. The first I heard that the landlord wanted to make us pay charges was two months after the end of the tenancy!!

that under NC statute in relation to landlords and tenants, the landlord is required to notify tenants of charges within 30 days too (identical to what is in the lease, in fact)

I've been told to pay the whole amount of the charges by the deadline the landlord has set "to avoid legal action and possible credit damage".

I've been disputing the charges since early September but the most recent deadline is approaching and the landlord and I are at stalemate.

Based on renting experience (and I know it can vary from state to state), is the landlord calling my bluff or can the the company report me to the credit bureau even though the amount is in dispute and unresolved? Has anyone heard how such a dispute can be resolved?

I'm well pisced off with the landlord 'cos they were so tardy sending me the initial letter and in it they charged me for stretching the carpet!

Any ideas? The local BBB won't have anything to do with it 'cos it's to do with property and not goods and services.




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Last edited by NC Penguin; Oct 11th 2004 at 5:39 pm.
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Old Oct 11th 2004, 5:21 am
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Default Re: Problem with Former Landlord- Adverse Effect on Credit?

Goodluck mate, can't really help, but it sounds like he's calling your bluff, they don't have any legal rights to ask for anything after 30 days have passed, and you should be present when they do the walk-through. They have nothing to report you to about your credit rating. Best bet is get a solicitor, or at least tell them your consulting with one, that might put them off, because if they went to court, it sounds like they would lose and have to pay for it.
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Old Oct 11th 2004, 8:22 am
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Default Re: Problem with Former Landlord- Adverse Effect on Credit?

Firstly, I'm very sorry to hear about this. I was in a similar situation a few years ago -- landlord did the walkthrough before our schedule appointment time -- but since I'd paid a security deposit, as well as a nonrefundable deposit for my dog, I simply didn't get any of it back. Not exactly the same situation, I realize, but I can understand your frustration.

The first question I have for you is: Is the notice you received of the amount you supposedly owe dated? Or do you at least still have the postmarked envelope it came in? Any proof that you have that you did not receive notice of damages within 30 days of moving is essential.

I did some digging and came across the actual Landlord/Tenant Statute of North Carolina (Chapter 42) and, more specifically, Article 6: Tenant Security Deposit Act, which states:

¤ 42-52. Landlord's obligations
Upon termination of the tenancy, money held by the landlord as security may be applied as permitted in G.S. 42-51 or, if not so applied, shall be refunded to the tenant. In either case the landlord in writing shall itemize any damage and mail or deliver same to the tenant, together with the balance of the security deposit, no later than 30 days after termination of the tenancy and delivery of possession by the tenant. If the tenant's address is unknown the landlord shall apply the deposit as permitted in G.S. 42-51 after a period of 30 days and the landlord shall hold the balance of the deposit for collection by the tenant for at least six months. The landlord may not withhold as damages part of the security deposit for conditions that are due to normal wear and tear nor may the landlord retain an amount from the security deposit which exceeds his actual damages. (1977, c. 914, s. 1.)


I also found the 1977 Tenant Security Deposit Act towards the bottom of this page on the website of the North Carolina Department of Justice Consumer Protection Section. Basically it mentions the 30-day notice requirement in plain English. More importantly, that page provides valuable contact information to that governmental office -- definitely check it out.

What isn't clear is what happens if there is no security deposit involved. Personally, I would think that regardless of whether the landlord is using a security deposit to pay for damages or simply wants you to cough up the money, the 30-day notice requirement should stand. But that's just me.

I recommend checking out the Consumer Protection section of the NC Dept of Justice website. They have an email address for inquiries as well as a way to file a complaint.

I also stumbled across a Landlord and Tenant Matters message board at FindLaw.com, where you'd be able to post this same question and get feedback from others. Navigating the board is a bit tedious -- not user-friendly -- but it seems to be fairly active. Hopefully someone will have some insight for you there.

Now, as far as your credit goes...

It is possible that this landlord could try to sue you for the money they believe you owe, or turn it over to a collection agency, in which case your credit could be damaged. On the other hand, if you pay what they're demanding, then that pretty much ends matters right there -- unless you wanted to take them to small claims court to try to get your money back. (You could go on Judge Judy! ) I wouldn't take a chance that it's just a bluff. I would consult an attorney familiar with NC landlord-tenant law.

Best of luck to you.

~ Jenney
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Old Oct 11th 2004, 2:56 pm
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Default Re: Problem with Former Landlord- Adverse Effect on Credit?

Originally Posted by Jenney & Mark
<<snip>>The first question I have for you is: Is the notice you received of the amount you supposedly owe dated? Or do you at least still have the postmarked envelope it came in? Any proof that you have that you did not receive notice of damages within 30 days of moving is essential.
Yes, I've kept all the original correspondence inc. envelopes relating to this matter. I've also made notes about all telephone conversations with individuals relating to the matter.

I did some digging and came across the actual Landlord/Tenant Statute of North Carolina (Chapter 42) and, more specifically, Article 6: Tenant Security Deposit Act, which states:

¤ 42-52. Landlord's obligations
Upon termination of the tenancy, money held by the landlord as security may be applied as permitted in G.S. 42-51 or, if not so applied, shall be refunded to the tenant. In either case the landlord in writing shall itemize any damage and mail or deliver same to the tenant, together with the balance of the security deposit, no later than 30 days after termination of the tenancy and delivery of possession by the tenant. If the tenant's address is unknown the landlord shall apply the deposit as permitted in G.S. 42-51 after a period of 30 days and the landlord shall hold the balance of the deposit for collection by the tenant for at least six months. The landlord may not withhold as damages part of the security deposit for conditions that are due to normal wear and tear nor may the landlord retain an amount from the security deposit which exceeds his actual damages. (1977, c. 914, s. 1.)
<<snip>>
I had found this same information about 10 days ago and have already mentioned this to the landlord. The 30 day deadline is also included within the lease agreement too. So, not only has the landlord not written to us within the period stated under NC statute but the company's not even following terms in their own lease agreement!

What isn't clear is what happens if there is no security deposit involved. Personally, I would think that regardless of whether the landlord is using a security deposit to pay for damages or simply wants you to cough up the money, the 30-day notice requirement should stand. But that's just me.
I've already told and mentioned in writing to the landlord that if the charges were genuine and justified, why wasn't I informed in a timely manner as per the lease agreement and NC statute?

<<snip>>

I also stumbled across a Landlord and Tenant Matters message board at FindLaw.com, where you'd be able to post this same question and get feedback from others. Navigating the board is a bit tedious -- not user-friendly -- but it seems to be fairly active. Hopefully someone will have some insight for you there.
Thanks for the info. I have just posted on this site.

It is possible that this landlord could try to sue you for the money they believe you owe, or turn it over to a collection agency, in which case your credit could be damaged. On the other hand, if you pay what they're demanding, then that pretty much ends matters right there -- unless you wanted to take them to small claims court to try to get your money back. (You could go on Judge Judy! ) I wouldn't take a chance that it's just a bluff. I would consult an attorney familiar with NC landlord-tenant law.
It's my belief that the landlord is trying to charge for work that is beyond normal wear and tear. I cleaned the apartment before I left. I lived in the apartment a little over two years and I replaced one of the four drip pans 4-5 months before the end of the tenancy yet the landlord has replaced all four drip pans!

I just wonder if the landlord can report me to a credit bureau with such a shaky claim for charges.

<<snip>>
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Old Oct 11th 2004, 6:41 pm
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Default Re: Problem with Former Landlord- Adverse Effect on Credit?

Originally Posted by NC Penguin
I just wonder if the landlord can report me to a credit bureau with such a shaky claim for charges.
It would seem the landlord is out of order, but you may want to try your post here: http://forum.freeadvice.com/ in the real estate/landlord section. If you can wade through the BS posts, a legal beagle might have a definitive answer for you.
Stick with it!
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Old Oct 11th 2004, 9:14 pm
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Default Re: Problem with Former Landlord- Adverse Effect on Credit?

Originally Posted by meauxna
It would seem the landlord is out of order, but you may want to try your post here: http://forum.freeadvice.com/ in the real estate/landlord section. If you can wade through the BS posts, a legal beagle might have a definitive answer for you.
Stick with it!
I am certainly sticking to my guns (proverbially speaking of course ).

I wrote a post for the landlord-tenant board on freeadvice but when I posted it, it never appeared. I am now registered though...

Found out that my former landlord's apartment community is on the my employer's housing database. I called the Community Housing office and explained how I was concerned that grad students and faculty may encounter similar problems with their deposits, especially those from out of state and overseas.

I've emailed the details to the Community Housing office and I'm filling in their property survey that is conductetd annually. I want would be tenants to be aware of the possible pitfalls of renting from my former landlord.




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Old Oct 12th 2004, 12:13 am
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Default Re: Problem with Former Landlord- Adverse Effect on Credit?

Originally Posted by NC Penguin
Found out that my former landlord's apartment community is on the my employer's housing database. I called the Community Housing office and explained how I was concerned that grad students and faculty may encounter similar problems with their deposits, especially those from out of state and overseas.

I've emailed the details to the Community Housing office and I'm filling in their property survey that is conductetd annually. I want would be tenants to be aware of the possible pitfalls of renting from my former landlord.
Ooooh, good one!
Diabolically clever, that
Should've cc'd the landlord on your email, heheheh
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Old Oct 13th 2004, 10:23 am
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Default Re: Problem with Former Landlord- Adverse Effect on Credit?

Originally Posted by NC Penguin
I am certainly sticking to my guns (proverbially speaking of course ). .....
Legally speaking you have clearly done all your homework, but unless you are renting from Megacorp Housing Inc, it is extremely unlikely that your landlord has any standing to report you to a credit agency. Landlords generally pay for credit crecks via a landlords credit check service, not directly from one of the credit bureaux, and therefore they would have no standing to pass information "back up the chain" to the bureaux.

Stand your ground, and if your landlord tries to fight it you'll end up in the NC equivalent of small claims. From what you've said NC law is entirely on your side, and with copies of all correspondence and a clearly documented timeline, you should have no problem. Having said that I think that your landlord is just trying to intimidate you.

Last edited by Pulaski; Oct 15th 2004 at 2:07 am.
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Old Oct 13th 2004, 10:51 am
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Default Re: Problem with Former Landlord- Adverse Effect on Credit?

Originally Posted by Pulaski
Landlords generally pay for credit crecks via a landlords credit check service, not directly from one of the credit bureaux, and therefore they would have no standing to pass information "back up the chain" to the bureaux.
But if the landlord turns the case over to a collection agency, it very well could (and most likely would) end up being reported to the credit bureaus.
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