Asked in Collections, Contracts and Landlord - Tenant for Virginia

Q: Rcvd bill from old apt. in VA from 7.5 yrs ago. Has statute of limtns expired? Can they send to collections if not paid?

Old apartment complex in VA says they recently ran audits on old accounts and "discovered" that me and two others who I rented with owe a balance from when we moved out in 2009. When we moved out there was no balance owed. They just contacted us on 11/14 and say if we don't pay by 11/21 they say they'll send the bill to collections. Is this legal? Is there anything protecting us from this randomness?

2 Lawyer Answers
Mr. Andrew T. Bodoh Esq.
Mr. Andrew T. Bodoh Esq.
Answered
  • Richmond, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Sending a bill to collections is a in-house process. As long as the collections efforts comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, it is likely legal. The statute of limitations in Virginia for debts on written contracts, or for property damage, is five years. As such, the statute of limitations has probably expired. This is a legal defense, however, and may not prevent all attempts to collect the money.

F. Paul Maloof
F. Paul Maloof
Answered
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Alexandria, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: You are protected by the Statute of Limitations ("SOL") under Virginia law. If you entered into a written agreement, there is a 5 year SOL within which to bring a claim. If you entered into an oral agreement, there is a 3 year SOL within which to bring a claim. If either time period has lapsed, the claim is barred. It is an affirmative defense so you must raise it or lose it.

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