Former Tenant Entitled to Damages for Wrongful Credit Report

Question: We retired last year and moved from Omaha to a nice condominium in Old Town Scottsdale. We signed a six-month lease in time to watch spring training games, until we could find a permanent home. After moving in, however, we quickly realized that the only thing “old” about Old Town Scottsdale was the name! Parties, music, and yelling almost every night by young people! Coming from Omaha we were “no stranger to a cocktail” when we were younger, but now two glasses of wine is a big night for us! We talked to our property manager about our unhappiness, and he was very understanding, especially because he had a waiting list of potential tenants. Our move-out agreement with the property manager was that we would move out at the end of the first month of the lease, and forfeit one-half of our $4,000 security deposit. We signed the moveout paperwork, got a $2,000 check, and by the end of the first month of the lease we had bought a nice home in North Scottsdale. The problem now is that we recently got a letter from the new property manager saying that we still owe $2,000 for the rest of the security deposit, plus another month’s rent under the 60-day move out clause. After we sent our move-out agreement to the new property manager, we received no response, but we now have a “ding” on our credit report. What can we do?

Answer: Under Federal law, 15 U.S.C. 1681, you can recover any damages you suffered from the inaccurate credit reporting. In addition, a property manager in Arizona generally has to be a licensed real estate agent, and you can file a complaint with the Arizona Department of Real Estate.

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