My fiance and I are moving out of our apt in upstate NY. We have only lived in our apt since April 10th, 2006. We put in our 30 days written notice on May 31st to break our 1 year lease due to several problems. Now our landlord is threatening to use his attorney to collect the remainder of the rent for the year. According to his lease, he has to do a walk-through of the apt on the day we move out, and sign a written release form. Without this, we are liable to pay the remainder of the year's rent. We do not want anymore contact with our landlord. We are afraid that he will find "damages" and blame them on our living there. We would like to videotape the condition of the empty apt, with a third-party present, on the day we move out and send the keys back to the landlord's office via registered mail. Can you advise whether this is a viable way to get around the release form? Also, is the lease even valid, if:
• our landlord did not personally sign the lease (his secretary signed for him, even though he was present at the time of the signing)
• we were unable to reside in the apt on the agreed move-in date of April 8th b/c the toilet was not installed
• we did not have a working full-sized refrigerator for approximately a week and a half, which was only replaced by a dorm fridge up until last week
• we had put in a maintenance order for a leaking ceiling which was never followed up on
• there are missing window screens (we live on the third floor)
Any pertinent information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time and input!