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Old Landlord threatening to sue me!

Discussion in 'Other Residential Landlord & Tenant Issues' started by screwedtenant, Jul 14, 2008.

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  1. screwedtenant

    screwedtenant Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I'll keep this as too the point as I can.

    This happened in Fairfax County, VA.
    I lived in a townhouse with 3 room mates. One of the room mates was also the landlord. There was no written lease, nor any written contract of any kind. Rent was $800 a month, and utilities were $50 a month.
    Rent was paid in cash, per the landlords request. No receipts were given.
    About 7 months ago, the landlord said he couldnt afford his mortgage.
    He started charging the other 2 room mates utilities, apparently they were not being charged for them up until this time. Then he approached me, and stated that he would need to charge me an extra $150 a month for utilities.
    I told him this was unacceptable, and that I had already been paying utilities.
    I immediately gave him him notice that I would be moving out. He changed his mind and decided not to charge me anything additional. After this happened, the 2 other room mates lost their jobs, and were unable to pay rent. The landlord asked me if I could pay rent for the next month in advance.
    At this time I gave the landlord notice that I would be moving out in 3 months. I then paid the rent in advance.

    Everything seemed to be fine until the day I moved out. The landlord was furious and tried to stop the moving men from moving my stuff out of the house. I managed to calm him down and the movers managed to pack up and remove all my stuff from the house. The landlord demanded that I give back my parking pass on the spot, which I did, and his computer server and the money I owed? him. The server in question was mine, and I was confused as to why he was demanding it. I was also confused as to what money I owed him. Long story short I moved out that day.

    A few days later I started getting threatening emails and voicemails from my former landlord. That he was going to have me served, and that he had done this many times before, and that I couldnt hide, he would come find me etc.
    He kept saying that I owed him a bunch of money, 2 years of utilities plus 10% interest. I have no idea where he got these figures from, and I am reasonably sure he just conjured them up, as he was, and still is, unable to provide an exact amount.

    I must point out that the landlord in question is a bonifide alcoholic, and litterally drinks all day, every day. His reasoning is seldom sound and he is prone to somewhat loud and violent outbursts.

    I will also point out that I initially paid a 600$ deposit.
    There were quite a few things wrong with the house as well.
    The roof leaked in a few places, which made parts of the house moldy.
    The air conditioner and heat pump were broken for the last 2 months I was there. The house was never locked/secured and the landlord always left the front and back doors wide open for his cats to come in and out. Several times stay animals would wander into the house and spray all over the place. A number of times squirrels or mice would come into the house and have to be removed. Food and drinks would regularly be stolen from the house. Any and all cleaning supplies and soap left out would also be stolen or "go missing". There were also periods of time that the water would not work at all, and other times there was only cold water.

    Does he have any legal recourse to sue me like he is threatening to?
    Should I prepare legal counsel? Do I have cause to counter-sue?
    I guess my big question is, since there was no written lease or paperwork of any kind, can I just ignore his threats and go on with my life?
    I dont care about getting my deposit back, and I am quite sure he doesnt have the money to pay it back. And his house is also 2-3 months into forclosure.

    Thank you so much, as this is a big load on my mind.
  2. Michael M. Wechsler

    Michael M. Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    What legal recourse does he have to sue you? Most people start puffing about suing and hoping to intimidate someone else into paying money. If there is no lease, no paperwork and no way for him to prove that you owe utilities to any reasonable level, then you've got nothing to worry about. Should he sue you, you can sue him for the rent deposit since I didn't hear any reason he had to withhold it - except for the fact that it seems he's grasping at money that may be near him.
  3. vwade

    vwade New Member

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    I would advise if you haven't already keep a physical record of any emails, vm etc. that this person is leaving for you. That way if the landlord does try to haul you into court you will have actual documentation as to whats been going on. I'm dealing with sueing an old landlord company and legally I've been advised to hold onto all my old emails and any paper work they gave me or I sent them.

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