I rented an apt in southern CA for $1250/month. My lease ended on Oct 31 but I had to move out a month earlier due to work. I went to the rental office and asked a leasing agent for my options like trying to find a new tenant to fill the apt or pay some fee etc. The guy just cut me off and told me to pay the rent through the end of the lease. So I paid the rent through Oct 31 and moved to another state on Oct 2-3. The security deposit was $400 which I thought I'd give up because I had to move out in a hurry and wouldnt be able to clean the apt. On Oct 1 (30 days in advance as the lease stated) I made the leasing agent sign a notice of termination of rental agreement form to acknowledge that I'd move out on Oct 31.
However, I got a call from them on Nov 7 that I have to pay the rent through Nov 7 as I havent returned the keys. I think they couldnt find a new tenant as there were wild fires in southern CA that week (I heard the whole complex had to evacuate) and tried to make money off me. There is nowhere on the lease agreement that to return the apt I have to give them the keys back.
They just sent me an invoice for Nov 1 - Nov 7 rent. They did deduct some off the security deposit. There are also cleaning fee and charge for unreturned keys which I can understand but Nov 1-7 rent seems unfair to me as I told them in advance. They threatened to report the unpaid charge to credit bureaus (my credit score is about 750-800, no bad history). In fact they should have given me the rest of my security deposit (after cleaning fee/key charge) back. The property is owned by a huge company that manages at least 10 apartment complexes in SoCal.
I still have all the paperwork (lease, move out notice etc.) I'd like to know what I can do here. I know it's not worth my time but I feel that they try to take too much advantage off me. I even thought about taking them to the court but I'm now in another state. Any legal advice is appreciated, thank you very much.