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So I made a stupid mistake. A mistake that someone who knows finance and who actually has a law degree shouldn’t make.
I didn’t get something in writing. And now it may be coming back to bite me.
Brief background: I bought my house in February and moved in March. My apartment lease was up in September. Prior to house hunting, I contacting my leasing office to find out the penalties for breaking the lease. The rental agreement just said that I was liable for actual damages, which meant they could come after me for the full rent, but I knew that others had broken their leases without facing that penalty. I was told that I had to give 60 days notice and pay a one month penalty.
Okay. Not too bad. Definitely doable.
So I bought the house. Though we planned to move in March, I didn’t give notice until the day after we closed in February, just in case the purchase fell through. There had been enough blips in the process that I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket and then find myself without a home. I put in the form and went on my way.
Then we got a letter telling us we owed rent (and pet fees!) through the end of September as penalty. Great. Of course, I flipped out a bit, but once I had calmed down, I went in and talked to one of the accounts managers. I presented my case, told him that I had relied on the information that I was given and asked what we could do. He responded that since I had been a good tenant, always paying rent early, and because I wasn’t asking to be immediately let out of the lease but offering a reasonable alternative, that he would accept it. I asked him to get me a letter to this effect, but… it never happened. I shouldn’t have let it drop, but the moving got the best of me and I sort of forgot about it.
Last week, I received a letter indicating that we owed a bit over $7500 left on the lease (this time not including the pet fees, thankfully) and that I needed to pay within 10 days or it would be sent to collections. I immediately called and was told to provide the information in writing and that they would research and get back to me. So I laid out my case and now I wait.
I’m lucky in that I do have $7500 available. It’s going to take some shifting of funds, but it’s in the emergency fund and I can get to it. I just don’t feel like this is the sort of emergency that I should use the money for. It’s a stupid mistake on my part. I’m just hoping that it goes my way. Even if I can get out of paying some of the money, I will be happy.
Lesson learned. Get everything in writing!