Background info: Five years ago, I found myself unemployed after being laid-off. I was renting an apartment and I informed the rental management company that I was going to be about 10 days late with my rent, so they had me evicted.
I had a rental agreement with them which was to expire three months later and I had provided a $1,000 security deposit when I moved in (which I never recived back or recieved any information about, of course).
Here's the problem: I've received letters from them for years asking for various amounts of money, the early ones listed $4,000 and they have demanded as little as $1,500. Early on, I had asked them for a breakdown of why they thought I owed them this money (I knew that they had rented the apartment a month after I left), but they never complied, so I told them to take me to court, which they haven’t done – they just keep asking for money. I think one reason they haven’t gone to court is that I threatened to counter sue for the following reason: early in my residency I complained to them that the portion of the rental agreement stating that I would be responsible for the utilities was misleading and probably fraudulent because they verbally told me that I had to have the electricity turned on in my name (which I did). But after living there over a month, I received a ‘bill’ from a company called “Pacific Water and Power” for trash, water, and gas for a total of $45. I researched the company and found it was a company owned by the rental management company, not a real utility company. I told them I wouldn’t pay that bill because its items weren’t included specifically in the contract and the gas portion of the bill was not equitable because each building only had one gas meter for all the apartments each building contained. If there were 6 residents in just one of those apartments, I was helping to pay for their gas consumption for heating water. They stopped sending the utility bills to me after a time.
Since the eviction, they have listed the money they’re asking for on my credit report and I’d like it removed. BTW: this company has been sued by the State of California for consistently not giving renters their deposits back and other practices, so they have a reputation for being bad rentors.
What can I do? Can I sue them? Can I somehow get this ‘debt’ removed from my credit report (without giving them any money)?
Thanks for any advice.