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I'm getting charged a huge amount by the landlord of an apartment I moved out of a month ago. I gave them 30 days notice that I was moving out on November 11 and paid a hefty termination fee at that time. I did move out by that date but, because of the stresses of escrow, I turned in the keys a couple weeks later. They want to charge me an extra $600 rent for the two weeks between when I moved out and when I turned in the keys. They say they're covered by Oregon law, is that right? It sure isn't fair.
Read the lease first and see if discusses your move out requirements and instruction pertaining to keys.
There are so many ways to look at this and each situation is a bit different.
Case in point. You said you would vacate the apartment by November 11th, but how does the LL know you actually vacated unless they see a complete vacancy with their own eyes and some landlords live out of state and have local representatives walk the apartment on their behalf if at all. Keys can be considered possession. So many people just move out and assume all is done and then are suprised when a bill comes looking for them.
They rarely make an appointment to conduct a walk through to finalize the move out paperwork, turn in keys, and tie up any loose ends. You might be thankful that he/she let you out of the lease early. Many landlords could simply say no, and you are on the hook for the entire contract/fees/rent etc, until it releases to someone else.
You could always write a letter letting them know it was not your intention to withhold the keys, but simply forgot as you were driving away and had no choice but to mail them in 2 weeks later. Maybe you could negotiate the rent at 1/2 off the daily rate since you vacated and it was an honest mistake.
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