Tenants/“friends” signed a 12-month lease for $1600/month. We did not ask for deposit or first/last month rent because we were friends then and it was a last minute situation.
They thought it was month-to-month because they seem to remember us saying it but the lease clearly states 12-months. They initialed it and signed the lease and received a copy of it.
They had 12 months worth of rent because they sold their house and had the money but we told them PAYING month-to-month was ok. That’s the confusion.
The last month they bailed out on the lease and never paid. We confronted them they were convinced it was month to month.
The tenants compromised and said they’d pay for $800 because they were convinced we said mo-to-mo was ok. To save the friendship we agreed.
They have paid $400 of the $800 verbal agreement.
They have had money trouble and many other “issues” in life and we have been sympathetic towards them but after 4 years (!) we have been patiently waiting.
How can we get the rest of the money back and even though we verbally agreed to settle for $800, could we ask for the full $1600 (minus $400 they’ve already paid) without going to collections or civil court?
You can ask them for anything you want. However, this does not mean they're going to agree to it or pay you. Is your friendship with them worth the $400.00. You would have to sue your friends in court and obtain a judgment against them. This will certainly end the friendship. Hiring an attorney will cost you $1,500 at a bare minimum.
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I agree with Mr. Shields.
I am not sure if your agreement for the $800 was verbal or in writing, but you very well could have limited your potential disputed amount to the remaining $400. You would go to small claims court and will cost about $200 just to serve and file the complaint. If your friendship is worth more to you than $400 then you should probably just drop it altogether. Alternatively, if they arent willing to pay the other $400 then you may question if they are really your friend.
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