broke lease with 1 month left because of incomplete repairs, harassment from another tenant, and bed bug infestation. Land lord has now billed me two months rent plus $80.00 to replace (not rehang) a shelving unit that we were told we could take down and we were also told we did not have to put it back up by the management rep that did the final walk through.
If I dispute this what chance do I have of winning the total bill is under $1000.00
You did not have the right to break the lease unless the landlord breached the warranty of habitablility and you took the correct steps to provide notice under the statute. If you did not provide the required notices, then you have very little chance of winning.
You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or [email protected] Stephen Harkess is an attorney licensed in the state and federal courts of Colorado. This answer is for general information only and does not create an attorney client relationship between Stephen Harkess or Harkess & Salter LLC and any person. You should schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss the specifics of your legal issues.
I will answer your last question first. You have to really determine whether fighting it out for a day in small claims court and the time and effort involved to go after a judgment for $1,000. That will just be the judgment. If the landlord appeals it, it will take more time. If he does not pay immediately, then you will have to pursue interrogatories and garnishments. I always tell all of my client and people who appeared before me when I was a judge, that there is the "legality" - whether you have a claim that you can win and the "reality" - the difficulty of collecting.
With that being said, there are some decent arguments that you can raise that you were entitled to move out due to being "constructively evicted" by your landlord. The bed bugs and the lack of repairs "might" have caused the landlord to have breached an implied warranty of habitability and fitness for the particular purpose for which it was rented. The harassment by the other tenant will be a little more difficult to prove.
So, in essence, you always have a chance of winning. However, you also have a chance of losing. Only you can determine the costs and benefits of going to trial. It is unpredictable.
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