Question: I was applying for a house, and found that I had a bill from a former apartment complex on my credit report that I was never given notice of. The apartment complex has never tried to contact me, and now it is in collections. I lived in this apart. over 3 years ago. Don't they have to give me some sort of documentation to tell me I had an outstanding charge? Now that it is in collections the apart complex wont talk to me. do they need proof?
This website provides general legal information. For legal advice and answers to your specific situation, you may want to contact an attorney
The information provided to this questions differs depending on whether the item sent to collections was an apartment bill or a judgment against the renter.
If what you are referring to is a bill, then generally you have the right to find out what the apartment complex claims that you owe. Since the apartment complex already sent the claim to a collections agency, the apartment complex or management company doesn’t have to talk to you. Instead, you may want to contact the collections company.
The collections company must follow the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, since they are in the business of debt collection. To find out more about your rights under the Fair Debt Collections Act, you may want to read the Guide for Consumers listed on the Federal Trade Commission’s website
. Among other things, you can request proof of the debt (you must do so in writing).
Forcible Detainer/ Eviction
If you did not pay your rent, then the apartment company may have hired a law firm to file a forcible detainer which resulted in your eviction. In this case, your “notice” occurred if they posted the summons and other appropriate paperwork on the door of the apartment which gives a hearing date within the following few days.
In Arizona, if the defendant is found guilty, the court will generally give judgment for the plaintiff for restitution of the premises, for late charges stated in the rental agreement, for costs and, at the plaintiff's option, for all rent found to be due and unpaid through the periodic rental period provided for in the rental agreement.
If this applies to you, then there is an outstanding judgment against you - not just a bill. Be aware that until a judgment expires, the person to whom the judgment is against may be subject to wage and bank garnishments, property liens, and other post-judgment remedies.
March 12, 2009