Can an apartment complex sue me if they rejected my offer to make payments when I broke a lease?

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Can an apartment complex sue me if they rejected my offer to make payments when I broke a lease?

I moved out of an apartment complex almost 3 years ago. I offered the manager to make payments on the remaining amount of the lease. She told me that I couldn’t do that and that their lawyer would contact me. Then a little later I talked with the lawyer and he said he couldn’t accept the amount that I wanted to pay monthly. I tried to pay $100 a month until income tax time and then was going to pay it off. Well now almost 3 years later they are trying to sue me. What can I do and are they even allowed to do that?

Asked on May 27, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you break a lease, you are liable for the full remaining amount of rent due under the lease. The landlord will often accept a payment plan, but is not obigated to do so; in fact, no creditor is ever obligated to accept a payment plan, and the debtor cannot make a creditor accept one. Instead the creditor can hold out for or insist on payment in full when due.

Therefore, you can't force the other side to allow you to pay the money owed in installments. If you will be able to pay it shortly (e.g. with a tax refund), you may not have to worry much; even if they sue you, if you pay before the matter gets to court, you should be ok (though they may try to get certain costs or fees from you, too). If you simply can't pay, then you may need to consider bankruptcy as an option.


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