Apartment staff wrongly claim that guests of mine were involved in breaking a fixture in the hallway of my apartment complex.

UPDATED: May 15, 2009

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Apartment staff wrongly claim that guests of mine were involved in breaking a fixture in the hallway of my apartment complex.

As mentioned in the title, the management of my apartment complex is under the impression that a guest of mine broke an exit sign in a hallway outside of my room. The claim is based on a security guard’s report that he heard a noise and saw my guest near the scene. The police were called and asked us if we had anything to do with it. We told them we hadn’t and they left without much drama. The next day I received a note from the front office saying I owe $208 for the damage. I went to the office and repeated that neither my guest nor myself broke it. What should I do?

Asked on May 15, 2009 under Criminal Law, Minnesota


N. K., Member, Iowa and Illinois Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

To avoid any problems, you could pay for the damage so they don't accuse you of violating your lease.

You could also speak to someone higher up in the management company to explain the situation and let them know that your guest was not responsible for the damage. Of course, the security guard the staff will probably insist that your guest is responsible.

If there is no way to resolve this, then try mediation. Many cities offer mediation for landlord-tenant disputes. Call your city hall and find out if this is available.

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