What to do if I had to leave an apartment and thereby default on my remaining leasing contract of 10 months?

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What to do if I had to leave an apartment and thereby default on my remaining leasing contract of 10 months?

Late fees and the entirety of the ramaining 10 months of rent was applied to a bill and later judgement against me and my guarantor. The lawyer who contacted me regarding the debt gave no option for a reduced settlement. I have little money and and have honestly not even addressed the situation for over a year. The lawyer is now entering a “motion to tax for fees and costs”. Should I contact an attorney to see if I can settle for a smaller amount or get a new judgement. Also, what does this new motion mean?

Asked on December 23, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The motion means that the attorney is trying to recover from you the legal fees and court costs involved in trying to collect from you--i.e., trying to make you pay for the collection process.

The creditor is under no obligation to settle for a lesser amount, and an attorney cannot make them do so. A lawyer will generally improve your odds in a negotiation, but bear in mind that success is not guaranteed before you decide to incur another debt--the lawyer's fees.

There is no reason to think that you can get a new judgment if you did breach your lease; when you break a lease a lease early, you do owe for the remainder of the lease term. Unless you can point to some significant procedural defect in the first jugment, such as court papers not being sent to you, it is unlikely you can vacate this judgment.

You most likely are obligated for these sums. While you can and should try again to settle for less, you may need to consider other options if you simply cannot pay, such as bankruptcy.


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