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barristerinky
barristerinky, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 34736
Experience:  Attorney over 16 years, landlord 26 years
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If a tenant breaks the term of their lease in Oregon by

Customer Question

If a tenant breaks the term of their lease in Oregon by leaving early can I keep their deposit? They did help me rerent the property.
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: Oregon
JA: What are the terms of the lease? Any issues related to maintenance or upkeep?
Customer: It was a 2 year lease. They left after 10 months. I gave them $50 off per month because they signed a longer lease. Not really any maintenance issues. I have costs involved in rerenting because I am not in that area so I had to pay someone to handle the turnover for me.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Don't think so.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Expert:  barristerinky replied 3 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

Expert:  barristerinky replied 3 months ago.

Were there any damages to the property?

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Did you lose any actual rent due to them breaking the lease?

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How long ago did they vacate?

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Did you send them a written itemized list of any damages and charges to the deposit?

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
A couple of small items which they claim were already there. Which leads me to another question... Who's responsibility is it to note previous damage upon move in?I did not loose any actual rent.I did send them a list which they are fighting.They have been out sense Nov 1.My general question is ... can you keep their security deposit just because they broke the term or the lease?
Expert:  barristerinky replied 3 months ago.

Who's responsibility is it to note previous damage upon move in?
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If you want to charge a tenant for it, yours. The burden is on you to document the condition of the property to prove that any damages were not pre-existing.

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My general question is ... can you keep their security deposit just because they broke the term or the lease?

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No, that is considered a "penalty" and courts won't allow it. You are only entitled to be compensated for your actual monetary damages. But you can charge them for any damages that you incurred due to them breaking the lease. So if you had to advertise, or pay someone to clean the place, or show it, then those are all "damages" that you can deduct from any deposit in addition to any actual physical damages to the property.

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You just need to make sure to send an itemized list and any refund within 31 days after they move out in accordance with OR law..

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As an aside, in addition to being an attorney, I have also been a landlord for over 26 years...

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Can I charge for my own time involved in dealing with the turn over? For example, coordinating showings, house cleaning, repairs?This is pretty much the info. I found on my own but man it's frustrating. What is the benefit of having a term to a lease? Should I just do month to month going forward?
Expert:  barristerinky replied 3 months ago.

Can I charge for my own time involved in dealing with the turn over? For example, coordinating showings, house cleaning, repairs?

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Kind of, under ORS 90.300 you can charge a "reasonable amount" for your time and labor..

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""b) A landlord is not required to repair damage caused by the tenant in order for the landlord to claim against the deposit for the cost to make the repair. Any labor costs the landlord assesses under this subsection for cleaning or repairs must be based on a reasonable hourly rate. The landlord may charge a reasonable hourly rate for the landlords own performance of cleaning or repair work.""

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So I would opine that you can add in scheduling and showing time as that is kind of "repairs" to limit your damages..

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What is the benefit of having a term to a lease? Should I just do month to month going forward?

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The point of the law here is to put you back in the same position you would have been in but for the tenant's breach. So anything that you come out of pocket for or any time you have to spend on fixing their breach, you can charge them for. But if someone breaches a month to month, you can only hold them liable for one extra month's rent. If they are under a fixed term lease and breach, and it takes you 3 months to re-rent, you can hold them liable for those 3 months..

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thanks

Barrister