Nonrefundable fee charged at END of tenancy?
When I went in to pay my rent on the first, I also handed the receptionist an envelope with my notice to move out (the lease stipulates it MUST be handed in ON the first). She then told me I had to fill out a form, which basically was just an "I, __________, do hereby give thirty days' notice . . ." plus space for a forwarding address, which I don't have yet.
So she tore that sheet off for the office, but the rest of the packet was for me; it's what they expect when people move out, plus a list of charges for noncompliance. Like, $25 if they have to clean your oven and stuff. I never have cleaning issues, since I leave the place spotless.
However, one of the first things was an "automatic flea spraying and deodorizing fee" applied to "any vacating resident who owned a pet". That was not mentioned when I moved in, and it's nowhere in my lease. Unlike all the other things, no specific amount is listed.
I've always been under the understanding that nonrefundable fees can only be charged upfront, with permission, not taken from your security deposit when you move out without you having even known it was coming. What kills me is that when I went for my "interview" before signing a lease, the manager told me there was a $300 pet fee. I asked if it was refundable, and he said no. I thanked him for his time and was going to leave. I don't mind cleaning or pet deposits, although $300 over and above security is a little steep, but I expect that if I move out and leave the place sparkling that those will be returned. So, seeing that I wasn't falling for it, the manager waived the fee.
But I was an exception; how can they get away with charging a $300 pet fee plus a nonrefundable pet cleaning fee? And it's a standard form, so it's not directed at me because they waived the $300 fee, either. This situation isn't even touched upon in my renters' rights books or the state statutes (which are as ambiguous as possible, because this isn't an area of law that ever gets complicated or anything). Is it even legal to automatically charge fees at the END of tenancy without any prior mention of that policy?