Lake Law Can Fight Collection Actions For Rent Or Damages By A Landlord or Debt Collection Agency
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is a federal law that Congress added to the Consumer Credit Protection Act. The purposes of the FDCPA are to eliminate abusive practices in the collection of consumer debts, to promote fair debt collections, and to provide consumers with an avenue for disputing and obtaining validation of debt information in order to ensure the information’s accuracy. The FDCPA is best understood in two parts:
(1) prohibitions on certain debt collection techniques, and
(2) a set of affirmative duties imposed on debt collectors.
The other significant section of the FDCPA lists penalties that could be imposed on a debt collector for violating the FDCPA.
Legal Protection Against Debt Collectors!
The FDCPA applies to all “debt collectors,” defined as “any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another.”
Why does this matter?
Because residential tenants are “consumers” and unpaid rent and damages owed under a residential lease are “debt” under the FDCPA.
How Does The FDCPA Protect Tenants?
The FDCPA prohibits certain types of “abusive and deceptive” conduct by a debt collector attempting to collect debts. Examples include:
- Hours for Phoning a Debtor. Only call a debtor by telephone between 8:00 A.M. & 9:00 P.M. local time.
- Stop Means Stop! Generally, when a debtor requests the debt collector to stop contacting the debtor, all communications must stop.
- Annoying or Harassing Communications. A debt collector must avoid all conduct that is intended to annoy, abuse, or harass a debtor. Debt collectors are also prohibited from communicating with you in writing more than three times per week.
- Contacting a Debtor’s Workplace. If a debtor asks a debt collector to refrain from contacting the debtor at his/her place of employment, the debt collector must comply.
- Discussing Debt with Someone other than the Debtor. A debt collector can only speak with the debtor and his/her attorney about the debt. The debt details and the debtor’s identity must be kept confidential.
- Threats. Threatening and other forms of intimidation are prohibited.
- Language. Abusive or profane language is prohibited.
Lake Law Can Help You!
RESPOND TO A COLLECTION AGENCY – Debt collectors often time bully and employ manipulative tactics. In many instances, they are uninformed as to your rights under the govern debt collection laws and landlord-tenant law. LAKE LAW, PLLC can help you understand your rights and protect you against abuse and harassment from debt collectors.
FILE A COUNTERCLAIM – Debtors can file a counterclaim in an eviction lawsuit in state court or even a separate lawsuit in a state or federal court to collect damages (actual, statutory, attorney’s fees, and court costs) from a debt collector. The FDCPA imposes strict liability on debt collectors, which means that a debtor need not prove actual damages in order to claim statutory damages of up to $1,000, plus reasonable attorney’s fees.
TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION – You have one year following the dates of the illegal actions to file in court against a debt collector. Don’t wait!