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I recently moved out of my apartment and was just sent a bill for $608.93 for "damages" that I believe are completely unfounded (some of which I noted on my original move-in condition form).

I obviously don't want to pay these damages, but can I file a lawsuit in small claims court to have these damage charges reversed before paying them? If not, what are my options? Should I pay and then file a lawsuit in small claims court?

The other possible option is since the apartment complex is holding on to my $250 security deposit because of these damages, I file a lawsuit to get my security deposit back before paying the damages.

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A debtor (such as yourself) does not file a lawsuit, the creditor does. If they want the money and you refuse to pay they will have to file a lawsuit and then you can defend it.

In the meantime, you should write to them and dispute the bill, putting forth you reasons and demanding the release of your deposit. Here, you are the creditor and you can file a lawsuit for the $250 you are owed - it is likely that they will counterclaim the $608.93 and you can mount your defence.

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  • Thanks a lot. If I file a lawsuit for the $250 I'm owed, in the meantime can they report my unpaid damage charges to credit agencies and sell the debt to collectors? – Adam Johns Apr 21 '17 at 1:21
  • @AdamJohns Debts can be sold before or after default. A creditor can report an alleged debt to a credit agency any time it believes that a debt is owed and unpaid and you can in turn dispute the report filed with the credit agency and it is required to acknowledge that the debt is disputed. – ohwilleke Apr 21 '17 at 1:31

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