Apartment charges family $4,000 after their mother dies for breaking the lease

A family in Colorado is calling the practices of a global real estate company “unethical” after they were charged over $4,000 in fees when their mother died in one of the company’s apartments.

Leticia Farrer moved into the complex owned by Greystar last October. She died unexpectedly in January and days later, the family says it was sent a bill for $4,140, citing penalties for breaking her lease early. In addition, the family claims, the apartment complex kept Farrer’s security deposit.

Legally, it appears, the company is in the clear. Colorado law says if the lease stipulates that tenants are responsible for fulfilling the terms even in case of death, that’s enforceable. The family, though, says there are moral considerations that outweigh the rules of law and it does not intend to pay.

“We were shocked,” Kelly Gantos, Farrer’s daughter-in-law told CBS News. “It’s not right, and we feel that if we stand up, others will be able to follow… So we want to set that example that says we’re not going to do it, and neither should anyone else have to. … This is not something that we’re going to tolerate. We’re going to do something about it.”

Greystar did not respond to Fortune’s request for comment about the situation.

This isn’t the company’s first run-in with customers about its practices. Greystar, which is based in Charleston, S.C., is facing a class-action lawsuit in Denver District Court alleging it has charged thousands of tenants with illegal fees.

Farrer’s family says it hopes to see Colorado laws changed so other families who find themselves in this situation do not have to go through the same process.

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