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  • how to dispute landlord charges?

    Hello! Got a questions here about landlord-tenant dispute for
    non-rental related charges.

    We moved into a commercial space in a mall 2 years ago and have been
    excellent tenants. Never missed 1 payment. We moved out and broker our
    lease early. The landlord allowed this but we had to forfeit our
    security deposit of $5,000. No problem.

    I got a bill yesterday from the landlord for $4,000 in "reapairs".
    Some of the "repairs" are rediculously overprice. For example, putting
    a new wallplat on a light switch (ten cents) was billed as $150.
    Putting on a new toilet seat ($20) was billed as $500. In addition,
    when we moved into the place it was totally trashed and we had to put
    in new carpet, paint the walls, etc. which cost us $15,000. Most of
    the repair charges he is hitting us with are for cleaning or repairing
    the items we had to buy and put into the place to begin with because
    the place was such a dump!

    Now if we formally dispute this bill with the landlord can he still
    send a collection agency after us while it is disputed (that is what he
    is threatening)?

    What usually happens with this stuff? It seems to go to court will cost
    as much as what he is asking.

    Any opinions on the course of action we should take from here besides
    disputing in writing?


  • #2
    how to dispute landlord charges?

    In article <[email protected]>,
    [email protected] wrote:
    Now if we formally dispute this bill with the landlord can he still send a collection agency after us while it is disputed (that is what he is threatening)?
    There is no "formally dispute" process. You ether pay the bill,
    or you don't pay the bill. If you don't pay the bill, you may
    end up in collections or in court.
    What usually happens with this stuff? It seems to go to court will cost as much as what he is asking.
    You want small claims court. There are very little costs, and
    attorneys are not needed. You simply show up with all your
    paperwork, tell your story to the judge, and the judge will
    sort it out. If the facts are as you state, you will likely
    still lose, but the costs will be adjusted to some more
    reasonable amount.

    BTW, the $15,000 you put in is gone. That is called a lease
    hold improvement. Those are things that you do to the property
    to make it ready to do business. Those items are normally
    permanent in nature. They become property of the landlord.
    You have no claim on them unless you had some agreement in
    advance with the landlord.

    -john-

    --
    ================================================== ====================
    John A. Weeks III 952-432-2708 [email protected]
    Newave Communications http://www.johnweeks.com
    ================================================== ====================

    Comment


    • #3
      how to dispute landlord charges?

      [email protected] wrote:
      Hello! Got a questions here about landlord-tenant dispute for non-rental related charges. We moved into a commercial space in a mall 2 years ago and have been excellent tenants. Never missed 1 payment. We moved out and broker our lease early. The landlord allowed this but we had to forfeit our security deposit of $5,000. No problem. I got a bill yesterday from the landlord for $4,000 in "reapairs". Some of the "repairs" are rediculously overprice. For example, putting a new wallplat on a light switch (ten cents) was billed as $150. Putting on a new toilet seat ($20) was billed as $500. In addition, when we moved into the place it was totally trashed and we had to put in new carpet, paint the walls, etc. which cost us $15,000. Most of the repair charges he is hitting us with are for cleaning or repairing the items we had to buy and put into the place to begin with because the place was such a dump!
      I trust you have receipts for all the money you spent?
      Now if we formally dispute this bill with the landlord can he still send a collection agency after us while it is disputed (that is what he is threatening)?
      He could send them after you, at which point you simply tell them (in
      writing) that you are disputing the debt and instruct them to not
      contact you again.
      What usually happens with this stuff? It seems to go to court will cost as much as what he is asking.
      Would you rather pay a lawyer or an extortionate landlord?

      And you should check your lease, too - there may be something in there
      that is relevant. (about lawyer's fees, arbitration, etc.)
      Any opinions on the course of action we should take from here besides disputing in writing?
      That's probably a good start

      IANAL, and this is only my opinion, not legal advice...

      Comment


      • #4
        how to dispute landlord charges?

        John A. Weeks III <[email protected]> wrote:
        In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] wrote:
        Now if we formally dispute this bill with the landlord can he still send a collection agency after us while it is disputed (that is what he is threatening)?
        There is no "formally dispute" process. You ether pay the bill, or you don't pay the bill. If you don't pay the bill, you may end up in collections or in court.
        What usually happens with this stuff? It seems to go to court will cost as much as what he is asking.
        You want small claims court. There are very little costs, and attorneys are not needed. You simply show up with all your paperwork, tell your story to the judge, and the judge will sort it out. If the facts are as you state, you will likely still lose, but the costs will be adjusted to some more reasonable amount.
        But be aware that some state's small-claims courts ALLOW lawyers so you may
        sometimes run into the situation where the other side has one and you're at
        a disadvantage there. But costs are still low for you so even if you run
        into that you're probably not any worse off than when you started.
        BTW, the $15,000 you put in is gone. That is called a lease hold improvement. Those are things that you do to the property to make it ready to do business. Those items are normally permanent in nature. They become property of the landlord. You have no claim on them unless you had some agreement in advance with the landlord.
        They become property of the landlord WHEN (and only when) they're
        'permanent' in nature. But not all "improvements" or changes made to start
        the business are such. I.e. a walk-in cooler could be dismantled and removed
        but it's still considered to be permanent. So would a light fixture. Both
        would probably require material changes to the structure in some way to
        remove or otherwise leave the place in a shape that it's basically unusable.
        But a roll-around cooler (like a drink cooler) or a telephone that's just
        plugged into an outlet wouldn't be considered "permanent." But either way,
        any money spent to "improve" the place or get it ready for use as a business
        are your own responsibility, barring prior agreement.
        -john-
        -- ================================================== ==================== John A. Weeks III 952-432-2708 [email protected] Newave Communications http://www.johnweeks.com ================================================== ====================

        --
        Mike

        -------------------------------
        "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop
        thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do
        we," George W. "Shrub" Bush Aug 5, 2004

        Comment


        • #5
          how to dispute landlord charges?


          [email protected] wrote:
          I got a bill yesterday from the landlord for $4,000 in "reapairs". Some of the "repairs" are rediculously overprice. For example, putting a new wallplat on a light switch (ten cents) was billed as $150. Putting on a new toilet seat ($20) was billed as $500. In addition, when we moved into the place it was totally trashed and we had to put in new carpet, paint the walls, etc. which cost us $15,000. Most of the repair charges he is hitting us with are for cleaning or repairing the items we had to buy and put into the place to begin with because the place was such a dump! Any opinions on the course of action we should take from here besides disputing in writing?
          A provocative thought.

          First, ask if his office people put the decimal points in the right
          place. Then, ask what he charged the previous tenant for repairs.
          Suggest that he didn't get any money from the previous tenant and that
          he is trying to take it out on you. Imply that you gave him the
          satisfaction that he didn't get from the previous tenant. Demand to
          see the invoices for the amounts billed and get the vendors and
          tradesmen into court to justify their charges as usual and customary in
          the trade. If those are cost estimates, not actual expenses, tell the
          judge you will be happy to employ qualified professionals (electrician,
          plumber, etc.) to do the job at an appropriate price.

          David Ames

          Comment

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