CanI be arrested ifI owe rent?
Get Legal Help Today
Secured with SHA-256 Encryption
CanI be arrested ifI owe rent?
I was recently served papers from an apartment (that I got permission to move out of) which state they want me to pay them $1600. I tried to make arrangements to give them monthly installments of what I could afford but they didn’t want that, they want it all. I am currently unemployed and have no way of giving them much. What can I do? I’m afraid that I will have to go to jail or something. If I was working I’d pay them but I have 2 small kids at home and just can’t afford anything else on my plate right now.
Asked on August 10, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Colorado
S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 10 years ago | Contributor
You won't be arrested and you won't go to jail for owing rent. This is a civil case and not a criminal case. The papers with which you were served are the summons and complaint. The complaint is the lawsuit. You will need to file an answer to the complaint. If you don't file an answer to the complaint, you will lose by default. The answer denies the allegations in the complaint.
Since the amount owed is $1600, the case was probably filed in Small Claims Court. The Small Claims Court may have an adviser, who can help you write an answer to the complaint and file it with the court. After filing the answer with the Small Claims Court, you will need to serve it on the opposing party by mailing that party a copy of your answer with a proof of service. The proof of service form you can probably obtain from the court. It just confirms the date of mailing and that it was mailed to the opposing party. The Small Claims Court adviser will be able to help you with it If the case was not filed in Small Claims Court, you will still need to file an answer with the appropriate court and serve it on the opposing party.
If the opposing party gets a judgment against you in the case, and if you don't have any assets the opposing party won't be able to enforce the judgment (collect the amount owed). If you do have assets and are concerned about the opposing party enforcing a judgment against you, as a last resort you could file Chapter 7 bankruptcy to stop enforcement of the judgment. It would be premature to file bankruptcy until there is a judgment against you. Given the amount in question, bankruptcy should only be a last resort.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.