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Old 05-04-2021, 07:23 PM   #88761
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thank you rob sexmachine
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Old 05-04-2021, 07:24 PM   #88762
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Did you ask him to draft the letter or did he just commit to doing it? Did the real estate agent ever tell you anything regarding fee or anything of the sort?

Drafting a letter is like .5 billable hours, at absolute worst I doubt he would attempt to pursue any legal avenues for this. But you should make it clear from the get go whether he’s charging this or if he’s doing it as a favor for the agent.
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Old 05-04-2021, 07:29 PM   #88763
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Also, towel, why are you not at the very least consulting with a tenant attorney before you cough up 3 months rent? If you changed your mind shortly after signing the lease you may have some options.
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Old 05-04-2021, 07:34 PM   #88764
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Did you ask him to draft the letter or did he just commit to doing it? Did the real estate agent ever tell you anything regarding fee or anything of the sort?

Drafting a letter is like .5 billable hours, at absolute worst I doubt he would attempt to pursue any legal avenues for this. But you should make it clear from the get go whether he’s charging this or if he’s doing it as a favor for the agent.
when i spoke with the lawyer over the phone, i asked what he would recommend and he suggested the demand letter, and if no response, file a claim in small claims court. i never made explicit requests.

the real estate agent said the lawyer would provide 1 hour of consultation for free, but i don't have it in writing, nor did the lawyer mention anything about it.

i assumed it'd be something like .5 hours until i googled it earlier today and apparently demand letters can get into the thousands of dollars. which prompted my inquiry to you fine gentlemen.

i hate professional services with opaque pricing
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Old 05-04-2021, 07:41 PM   #88765
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Also, towel, why are you not at the very least consulting with a tenant attorney before you cough up 3 months rent? If you changed your mind shortly after signing the lease you may have some options.
i didn't want to pay so easily, but the ol' battle-axe just wanted to settle things and move on.

this was right after the TX deep freeze, a regretful breakup, and ruby being put down. my resolve was less than a eeny-weeny yellow polka dot bikini
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:12 PM   #88766
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hi, i need help about legal fees and protocol.

i signed a lease for a rental home but had to back out of it a few days later. the lease did not specify an early termination fee, but the homeowner wanted 3 months rent. i obliged and paid timely.

the real estate agent i used reached out to me 2 months later and referenced a lawyer for me to collect 2/3 of the fee i had paid. apparently, a tenant moved in a month after i broke the lease, and therefore collecting 3 months of rent from me was "unjust enrichment". i talked on the phone with him and he said he would draft a demand letter but we never discussed legal fees.

he's emailed me a draft of the letter (with a typo in it).

when in this process is it appropriate to discuss legal fees?

since the letter is drafted already, is it too late to back out of this if there are legal fees?
It's odd that the lawyer is even doing any work before you sign some sort of agreement. You probably should've been a little more assertive during the initial phone consultation
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:19 PM   #88767
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i asked him and he's charging 1 hr for the letter ($350)
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:27 PM   #88768
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I'd ask a different lawyer that didn't call you out of the blue. Sounds sketchy.
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:27 PM   #88769
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Just as a general rule, you can break a lease if it's for a term of years and the landlord has a duty to mitigate. They can't come seeking for remaining rent owed on the lease until after it's owed, at which point they have to show they really tried to get someone else in that unit. Not a tenant's rights attorney so I have no idea how that looks in practice, but definitely don't pay a landlord three months of rent just cuz they asked for it.

You should make sure that the current person you're dealing with isn't being more of a snake than the landlord was, but in theory you can probably get some money back. Maybe the landlord is notorious for being a snake so this attorney is personally going after him, which would be a good thing for everyone.
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:28 PM   #88770
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If you don’t have a signed agreement tell him he can eat it, but you won’t be using his letter. But again, this might also require there to be conflict which I’m not sure you’re wanting to get into.

If you want to chalk this all off as an expensive learning experience, tell him you were never interested in getting into a litigation battle with your previous almost landlord. This letter is just the beginning. If you send it, the landlord will simply say go fuck yourself, now what? You’ll have to pursue it through small claims or through other means, all which will require time and money.
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:31 PM   #88771
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Just as a general rule, you can break a lease if it's for a term of years and the landlord has a duty to mitigate. They can't come seeking for remaining rent owed on the lease until after it's owed, at which point they have to show they really tried to get someone else in that unit. Not a tenant's rights attorney so I have no idea how that looks in practice, but definitely don't pay a landlord three months of rent just cuz they asked for it.

You should make sure that the current person you're dealing with isn't being more of a snake than the landlord was, but in theory you can probably get some money back. Maybe the landlord is notorious for being a snake so this attorney is personally going after him, which would be a good thing for everyone.
I think you misunderstood what happened. He signed the lease agreement, and the lease agreement states that in order to break the lease, you need to pay x fee which is equal to y amounts of rent, which is pretty common language in just about every lease I’ve signed.

Without knowing the exact terms of the lease agreement and the subsequent severing of the lease, the attorney that’s selling you his services is basically talking out of his ass, towel. Don’t pay him a dime.

Last edited by Fernando; 05-04-2021 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:34 PM   #88772
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my first reaction was to be cynical about the lawyer wanting to get business, but then i thought i should do what i can to recoup if i'm entitled to it.

hopefully there'll be compliance from the landowner without me needing to file a claim. idk if i'll pursue this beyond a demand letter.
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:38 PM   #88773
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If you go that far with it, you might as well file a small claims suit. Filing and service fee is $101 if you’re in Travis County and you do NOT need a lawyer for any of it no matter what that shyster tells you.
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:38 PM   #88774
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I think you misunderstood what happened. He signed the lease agreement, and the lease agreement states that in order to break the lease, you need to pay x fee which is equal to y amounts of rent, which is pretty common language in just about every lease Iíve signed.
no, this lease didn't stipulate terms for early termination. but from my experience, apartments usually charge 2 months rent for breaking the lease early so i figured this was somewhat standard and it wasn't a prohibitive amount for me.
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:39 PM   #88775
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no, this lease didn't stipulate terms for early termination. but from my experience, apartments usually charge 2 months rent for breaking the lease early so i figured this was somewhat standard and it wasn't a prohibitive amount for me.
Oh. Well damn.
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:40 PM   #88776
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Find a well reviewed lawyer that will give you a free consultation and an accurate assessment of how likely it is you’ll get your money back and how long it will take. Could also try to find someone that only gets paid when you do. My gut feeling is your realtor and this attorney have a racket going. The fact that he wasn’t transparent up front that the letter would cost you is a very bad sign.
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:42 PM   #88777
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If you go that far with it, you might as well file a small claims suit. Filing and service fee is $101 if you’re in Travis County and you do NOT need a lawyer for any of it no matter what that shyster tells you.
ok then maybe i will. ugh i shouldn't have caved but this is my fucking ex's fault.

thank you all for the advice
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:43 PM   #88778
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Most guys that work on contingency will only do it in personal injury cases cause the upside is so big. You need a big ol cost analysis discussion with yourself, Towel, and figure out what you feel is best. Like Rob said, it doesn’t hurt to ask around, but I suspect there will come a point where this will start becoming more costly than beneficial. You need to figure out where that will be for you.

Personally I’d scorch the earth just to make a point. But that’s neither here nor there.
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:47 PM   #88779
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Find a well reviewed lawyer that will give you a free consultation and an accurate assessment of how likely it is youíll get your money back and how long it will take. Could also try to find someone that only gets paid when you do. My gut feeling is your realtor and this attorney have a racket going. The fact that he wasnít transparent up front that the letter would cost you is a very bad sign.
the realtor and the attorney are for sure partnered somehow but i don't think their intentions are fully malicious. i think they see an opportunity since the homeowner got double rent.

i thought lawyers were just non-transparent by the nature of their profession, like dentists and doctors.
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Old 05-04-2021, 09:49 PM   #88780
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Most guys that work on contingency will only do it in personal injury cases cause the upside is so big. You need a big ol cost analysis discussion with yourself, Towel, and figure out what you feel is best. Like Rob said, it doesn’t hurt to ask around, but I suspect there will come a point where this will start becoming more costly than beneficial. You need to figure out where that will be for you.

Personally I’d scorch the earth just to make a point. But that’s neither here nor there.
i naively figured i would recoup fairly easily and the lawyer would take a cut. i probably won't pursue anything beyond the demand letter.
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