I’ve lived in five states since my divorce and have rented a place to live in each one, mostly with a year lease and I have not violated one. I have had the property manager try to shaft me on several, and all attempts failed. I lived in Grapevine, Texas when I moved there when the company I worked for was trying to expand. I moved in with the stipulation that if my employer decided to cease operations, I could break the lease without repercussions. Sure enough, seven months later the jobs went dry and I was forced to move back to Colorado. Three months later, I received a letter from a lawyer stating that I owed X number of dollars for breaking the lease and damage to the apartment. As expected, it was a different property manager, they change so frequently, and the agreement I had made with the original one was null and void. Luckily, the original property manager and I had written out our agreement and it was signed by both of us as an attachment to the lease agreement. It seems her husband had also been in construction and she knew about jobs evaporating. The lawyer called me several times, called me a few names, threatened me a lot and demanded even more money or he’d see me in court. After a call to the Texas regulatory agency, I found out that the lawyer was the property manager’s husband and wasn’t licensed to practice law in Texas. The next time he called, I mentioned this to him, stated that I had recorded our phone conversations and was planning to turn to over to the Texas Attorney General. I never heard from them again.
Now I have another property manager’s lawyer calling me demanding $3,500 for breaking the lease, not giving notice of moving and payment for replacing a carpet plus other minor damage. For one, the townhomes refused to sign another one year lease so we were on a month to month rental agreement. The carpet was thread bare but clean, I don’t know what he means by other damage. He’s supposed to be sending me documentation to prove his points. These townhomes have tried sung several other tentents and have lost every time, all for several tousands of dollars each. This lawyer doesn’t have a very good track record with lawsuits. If he produces a signed lease, it will be a forgery for we didn’t sign a renewal lease. They had posted a notice on the door giving us ten days to vacate the place. I also had taken pictures of every room before I left so I know there wasn’t any damage, except normal wear and tear.
I had a small place near brush, Colorado for two years. I gave the owner, she lived right across the street, two weeks notice, cleaned the place really great and took pictures of the ceiling hanging down in the bedroom, the leaky hot water heater and the rotten porch before I left. I also left her my forwarding address so she could return my deposit. A month later I received a letter from her lawyer demanding thousands of dollars for damages. I just copied the pictures and sent them to him with a demand for return of $350 deposit or my lawyer would contacting him. A week later I got a check in the mail, no letter, just the check. End of story.
If there is one thing I’ve learned from renting and leasing, keep every scrap of paper for at least a year. Anything agreed to must be in writing, no handshakes. Take pictures when you move in and when you move out. I’ve learned that no matter how nice the property manager is when you move in, they turn into a demon from hell when you move out with selective memory loss. The think that a call from a lawyer will have you turning over and begging for forgiveness; my advice — don’t turn into a sheep. Stand your ground, if you’re right and don’t let them threaten you into submission. If a lawyer calls, ask politely for his license number and then check it. If he won’t give it to you, that’s a point in your favor, shady lawyers don’t have a license. I’d check with your local bar association just to be sure but they won’t give you information as to past complaints but the BBB might.
Don’t let a lawyer threaten you into submission, they count on that to keep from having to show up in court. keep your paperwork and document everything and above all, don’t trust the. They are in it for the money and must answer to their investors.