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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 41220
Experience:  Licensed in multiple jurisdictions. Experienced Landlord-Tenant attorney.
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Recently my daughter moved out of an appartment in Longview

Customer Question

Recently my daughter moved out of an appartment in Longview Washington. She paid first, last and deposit upon move in. Her rental agreement was month to month but says if she moved out in less then 6 months they would keep her deposit for early termination fees, she moved out after only 1 month so they kept the deposit, but said because her 20 day notice was 1 day late they were keeping the entire last months rent even tho they were informed that she would be out by the 23rd of that month and no later. She returned the keys on the 23rd. Now they sent her a letter saying she owes $320 more for 6 hours of cleaning and unpaid utility bills. We have no pictures but have witnesses to state that the appartment was very clean and left in excelent condition. She left a copy of the utility payments to prove she was paid in full but they claim they never got it. Either way after keeping her entire deposit and an entire months rent that she was not there should she be responsible for these false charges or should she take them to court?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.
This is a tough situation and one I am sorry that your daughter finds herself in. Please allow me to give you a balanced answer, which may or may not be as you hoped.
While you may allege that the charges are false, ultimately what governs is what evidence exists. If there are no images as far as the state of the unit, it becomes their word against your daughter's as far as the need to clean, so if no evidence exists and they have not charged her unreasonable fees, they can collect for cleaning. If your daughter has evidence then fighting it makes sense. As far as the utility bills, that is far easier to prove--if she has documentation showing payment, then going to court for that amount is both fair and reasonable.
In addition I would strongly check the '20 day notice' as that is based on postmark and not on when it was received--if your daughter has evidence that she mailed it on time but it was received late, she could go back to court and claim that the amount was improperly withheld, and even seek punitive damages from them over the withholding.
Sincerely,
Dimitry, Esq.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Would witnesses be concidered evidence or would it then become the discretion of the judge? The 20 day notice was written in person but the concern is can they keep a full months rent due to 1 day over on notice even tho she was confirmed by them out on the 23rd?

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your follow-up.
Witnesses are tough, especially if they have some sort of a link or relationship with your daughter. It is not a bad thing to have witnesses, but since witnesses may remember things incorrectly, may have a bias outright, or might not be able to appear in court, they should not be relied upon. Now, having witnesses is very good but it is not as good as pictures. As far as keeping the full rent amount, they can only do so if they did not rent the unit--if they did, they cannot essentially collect double-rent for the same space.
Sincerely,
Dimitry, Esq.

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