Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

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Questions About Collections: Breaking a Lease

Dear Melissa,

Thank you for being available for assistance on this nagging question.

I am writing because I lost my job and am forced to move from my current home in Florida back up north on 10/1 and gave my notice to leave my lease/apartment w 60 days (per the lease) on 8/1.  Also, per the lease I have to pay $2000 to cancel my lease early.  I’m fine with that even though this is definitely a last resort.  But I can’t pay the $2000 up from or in one month.  I asked to make payment arrangements and they said that if I don’t pay it to them in full by 11/1 they would send me to a collection agency that will immediately send me to the credit bureau. 

I am willing and able to pay them reasonable payments (rather it be the leasing company or the collection agency) but I do not want it to affect my credit report.  I thought the apartment complex needed to give more than 30 days before sending to the collection agency and both needed to avoid sending to the credit bureau if the person was willing and able to make reasonable payments and arrangements?

Can you tell me my rights surrounding this please?

Tamara R.

Dear Tamara,

Unfortunately, due to the economy and people not paying, creditors seem to threaten their paying customers to try and get more money.  There is a good chance the leasing company is telling you this because they are afraid that once you are gone, you will never pay.

A collection agency cannot report you immediately to the credit bureau, because none of them will take the account unless it has been placed for at least 30 days.  In most cases, the collection agency will not report you until 60 days.

I would make the payments faithfully each month.  Or do half twice a month to let the apartment complex know that you intend to make good on what is owed.  If they know you are paying, chances are they won’t turn you over to a collection agency because they will have to give up some of the money to the collection agency.  If they do end up sending you to a collection agency, simply ask them at what point it will be reported.  This will let you know how much time you have to pay in full.

Do YOU have a question for Melissa? Email her at melissa@dovcocs.

Melissa Douros Dovco Collection Solutions, Inc.

As the owner of Dovco Collection Solutions, Inc., Melissa Douros uses her eight years of being a collections specialists to offer advice and answer questions pertaining to debt collection. With running her own successful collection agency, she seeks to keep debt collectors accountable for their actions and in line with the law.

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