Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Arizona

Broken Lease - Law Suit?


3 years ago I moved from AZ from an apt complex. I broke the lease 6 mos before it would have expired. They wanted me to pay, but at the time I was unemployed. When I got the first letter from the collection agency, it stated I owed over $1800.00. The worst it should have been would have been first and last month's rent at $635.00 a month. But I gave them as much notice as I could as it was a very hard time for me to even pay my car payment. Anyway, I periodcally get letters in the mail from the collection agency that request I pay the amount due in full. In 3 years, they have never put this on my credit report or filed a judgment against me. I do not feel it is right to pay them the amount they state. I am sure the apt was rented after I moved out. I am willing to pay a portion to be fair. What should I do? And do you feel they would file suit against me, even though I reside in Florida now?

Sincerely, Stang_lvr

Asked on 5/21/02, 9:02 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

David Slater David P. Slater, Esq.

Re: Broken Lease - Law Suit?

I do not know the Statute of Limitations for breach of a lease in Arizona. I assume it is greater than 3 years so they can still bring an action against you. They can bring this action against you in Arizona or Florida. If they sue you in Florida you can contact me. In the alternative you can call the collection company to see if they will settle for a smaller amount of $. Good luck.

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Answered on 5/21/02, 9:47 pm
Randall Gilbert Gilbert & Caddy P.A.

Re: Broken Lease - Law Suit?

You have two choices. Pay or don't pay. In Florida, the Statute of limitations is 5 years on a written agreement. This means that the landlord, or its collection agency if the debt has been assigned, must sue you by filing a complaint in a court and serve you with a summons. Unfotunately, the agreement was entered into in Arizona, and therefore Florida law will not apply. Instead, Arizona's statute of limitations will apply, which is unknown to this Florida lawyer.

Therefore you should first check the statue of limitations in Arizona. Second, you may wish to negotiate with the creditors by offering a percentage. Third, if you have not been sued, and there has been nothing reported against your credit in 3 years, you may want to take the precarious chance of not paying, and hope that the statute of limitations for bringing suit against you runs. This option is dangerous, because you may be obligated to pay attorneys fees and costs to the prevailing party if a case is eventually filed against you within the applicable time limits. In any event, if you do pay then make sure you secure a release, so that you will not be obligated in the future to any other claims the creditor may have against you.

Best of luck,

Randall L. Gilbert, Esq.

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Answered on 5/22/02, 1:20 am

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