What to do about a breach of stipulation agreement by a landlord?

My wife and I entered into a stipulation agreement minutes before our trial. We all entered into a zero cash owed stipulation. We had a $1800 deposit as well. Then 2 weeks later I was contacted by a collection agency that was trying to collect on their behalf in the amount of $8000. I also received their statement of deposit and it stated that we did not give notice on moving and skipped out. They applied the deposit to the fees hence the $8000. It is as if they forgot about the case and stipulation. It was also reported on my credit. I sent a letter but thinking about small claims.

Asked on July 24, 2012 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A stipulation like the one you describe is a contract and may be enforced as one. You could bring a legal action seeking a court order forcing the landlord to return the deposit to you, if under the agreement the landlord could not keep it, and also forcing them and their collection agency to take all steps necessary to correct your credit. If you want to do this, it would not be small claims--a small claims court has no power to issue court orders (injunctions), such as one to force them to fix your credit. Instead, you'd bring the action in regular county court. If you're just looking to recover monetary compensation and don't care about trying to force them to fix your credit and correct their mistake, then you could sue in small claims court.

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