Portland, OR asked in Landlord - Tenant for Oregon

Q: Tennant (roommate) is breaking the rental agreement early. What do I need to give back?

I live in a condo with a roommate. Today (the 11th) he decided he is moving out, no 30 day notice. I've asked him to send an email to me of the intent to leave so I have a paper trail. He has already paid for this month and because of his credit score I collected last month rent too. I'm guessing I need to give the last month back, but what about for the remainder of this month? Also he smoked weed in his room (agreement had a no smoking clause), and cigarettes outside, and the smell lingers. Can I use the security deposit to get cleaning services to remove the smell from the whole house or just his room? I don't think smoke smell is considered normal wear and tear right?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In this situation, there are a few things to consider:

1. Notice period: Even if your roommate has paid for this month and the next, he is still obligated to provide proper notice as per your rental agreement. You should check your agreement for the specific notice period required.

2. Prorated rent: If your roommate moves out before the end of the month, you may be entitled to keep a prorated portion of the rent for the days he occupied the room this month. However, you would likely need to return the last month's rent if he does not stay for that period.

3. Security deposit: You can typically use the security deposit to cover damages beyond normal wear and tear. Smoke odor can be considered damage, especially if there was a no-smoking clause in the agreement. You may be able to use part of the deposit for cleaning services to remove the odor, but it's best to get an estimate and document the costs.

4. Documentation: Having a written record of your roommate's intent to leave is important. Make sure to document any damages, cleaning costs, and communication related to the matter.

5. Local laws: Landlord-tenant laws vary by location, so it's essential to review the specific laws in your area to ensure you're following proper procedures.

If you're unsure about how to proceed or if your roommate disputes any deductions, consider seeking legal advice from a local landlord-tenant attorney or a tenants' rights organization. They can help you navigate the specific laws in your area and protect your interests.

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