If my ex-landlord is trying to sue me for more money than I owe him, how do I stop him?

UPDATED: Jan 19, 2011

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If my ex-landlord is trying to sue me for more money than I owe him, how do I stop him?

My ex-landlord took me to court saying that I owed him $3,000 but I only owed him $1500. When we went to court he lied about the damages I made to the property but the judge ruled in his favor anyways even though my ex-landlord had no proof that I made these damages. The judge allowed my checks to be garnished in the amount of $3,000. He already garnished about $2,000 and I have proof of this. Now I just got a letter saying I still owe $2,800. What do I do about this?

Asked on January 19, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You only owe as much as the judgment was for--though be careful: (1) if the judgment was not paid in a timely manner (e.g. it's being paid over time), there may be post-judgment interest acruing and increasing the cost; (2) depending on the terms of the judgment (and also you lease, if you'd had a written lease), you may owe certainly collection costs, filing fees, or legal fees to the landlord as well. Provide to the landlord (or whomever is collecting on his behalf) evidence of the amount taken out so far as well as a copy of the judgment, plus your calculation of what you still owe. Ask them to document and explain why you owe more. When you get the answer, consider it fairly and against the evidence; if it looks like it's legitimate (see points 1 and 2 above, for example), you may owe more--but if you disagree, explain the basis for your disagreement. While you don't have to pay more than you have been ordered to pay under the terms of the judgement or owe under the terms of the lease, if you and the landlord can't work this out, you may end back in court to vindicate your rights.

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