Security deposits are an endless source of frustration for New York tenants. It can be difficult to get them back even if you move out of a squeaky clean, undamaged apartment. 

In addition, security deposits can serve as a barrier to moving into a new place.

Here’s what you need to know about New York security deposit law.

Security Deposit Amounts

Rent-stabilized units may only require a security deposit equal to one month’s rent.

Non-stabilized units have no specific maximum amount

Landlords of buildings with six or more apartments must put all security deposits into a New York bank account, earning interest at the prevailing rate. Each tenant must be informed in writing of the bank’s name and address and the amount of the deposit. Landlords may collect administrative expenses equal to 1% of the deposit, but all other interest belongs to the tenant

Interest may be applied to rent, paid at the end of the lease, or paid to you annually.

You Have the Right to an Inspection

You don’t have to wait and hope that the landlord will agree that your apartment is unblemished. Landlords must give you written notice of your right to an inspection before the end of the lease.

The landlord should document their assessment of the damage during the inspection. You then get the chance to repair the damage yourself. This is often advantageous, as some landlords don’t exactly shop around for the best deal when they plan to make repairs at a tenant’s expense. You can find lower prices or even take care of some items yourself.

Return Deadlines

In New York, landlords can’t just return security deposits whenever it suits them. They have fourteen days from the date of move-out. If the landlord feels the tenant has caused damage, they must provide an itemized list of damages and the cost to repair them.

You may request copies of receipts and invoices if you question the amounts.

If the landlord fails to do this, they’re liable for twice the amount of the deposit plus any amount wrongfully withheld.

Using the Security Deposit for Unpaid Rent

Before a landlord can use your security deposit for unpaid rent, they must document all unpaid rent and late fees, notify you of their intent to use the security deposit for unpaid rent in writing and provide an itemized statement indicating the amount of unpaid rent deducted from the deposit.

If there is any money left over, they must return the remaining portion of the security deposit to you with this itemized statement.

What to Do if Your Landlord Violates Your Security Deposit Rights

If you feel your landlord has violated your rights, don’t delay. Contact our office to get help today.

See also:

What Happens When Your NYC Landlord Sells Your Apartment Building?

When is a Rent Increase Legal in NYC?

What Are Your Rights as a Month-to-Month Tenant in NYC?

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