In June 2022, Manhattan’s average monthly rent surpassed $5,000 for the first time in history. Brooklyn and Queens both set new marks. A studio apartment in Brooklyn, for example, costs about $3,000 per month on average. The 49 neighboring states and New York State are all affected by the trend of rising real estate prices. However, renting in New York City might be rather expensive right now. And given those figures, it should come as no surprise that the phrase “security deposit” carries a lot of weight in New York City. To put it mildly, losing even a small percentage of the deposit can be unpleasant. So, if you’re considering moving out while holding onto your security deposit, here are some things you should be aware of.
A Security Deposit Is What?
To put it simply, it’s a sum of money you provide to a landlord before moving into a place as a reward for keeping the place in good condition while you’re a tenant. It remains with the landlord during the duration of your lease.
The majority of New York landlords often demand a security deposit and the first month’s rent before letting you move if everything goes according to plan, the deposit is fully refunded when your lease expires. So long as you’ve taken good care of the property, followed the lease’s requirements, and don’t owe any rent or other payments, you should be in the clear.
It’s also not unusual to receive your deposit back if you’re in good standing with your landlord. Even if you vacate the property before the lease expires. Just make sure you discuss it with them and give them enough notice.
When I Move In, Where Does My Security Deposit Go?
With single-family homes, the landlord often decides. You are in charge of seeing that your deposit is refunded in full. And your landlord is in charge of keeping it secure. Landlords of buildings with six or more apartments are required by the NY Attorney General’s Residential Tenants’ Rights Guide to not only deposit all security deposits in an interest-bearing account in a New York state bank. But also provide written notice to each tenant stating the name and address of the bank as well as the amount of the deposit.
When it comes to security deposits, co-ops and other larger properties in NYC typically have their own distinct sets of laws and regulations. Frequently engaging management companies or other third parties to help guarantee everything is in order. Physically, financially, and legally.
Therefore, administrative fees are prevalent. To make sure you understand your rights as a tenant, what your security deposit comprises, and — most importantly — that you receive it back, you can speak with your real estate agent, attorney, and/or the assistance of several community revitalization initiatives. So, familiarize yourself with your particular circumstance. Review the documents, consult with others, and pose inquiries.
Does New York Law Place a Cap on the Deposit Amount a Landlord May Request?
In NYC, the landlord determines the amount of a tenant’s security deposit. As it is in other cities, though it is often equal to one month’s rent. In addition, all renters may be asked to submit their landlord a security deposit at the start of their tenancy. But it may not be greater than one month’s rent, according to the Residential Tenants’ Rights Guide.
Due to the one-month restriction, a landlord cannot request a security deposit in addition to the previous month’s rent. You’re essentially looking at a maximum of two months’ rent. Although NYC rental rules are always changing, we advise you to double-check the most recent information online, speak with a lawyer, or if possible, do both.
What Can I Do in New York City If My Landlord Isn’t Returning My Security Deposit?
It’s not always a given that you’ll get your deposit back. Even if you followed all the necessary steps. It might be smart to seek legal counsel if you believe that you have upheld your end of the bargain and left the location in good condition but are still not receiving your money back.
But first, be careful to put your request for a refund of your security deposit in writing by sending your landlord a letter outlining the specifics of the incident. As well as your legal rights, what you need, and your intention to file a lawsuit. Also, make copies of the letter. Sometimes, involving a knowledgeable third party and/or making a formal request may be sufficient to get your landlord to take action. But if all else fails, you can file a complaint with the Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection or sue your landlord in small claims court. In that situation, you should begin gathering all of your records and paperwork (bills, photos, etc.)
When Is the Deposit Refundable to the Landlord?
If there are any damages other than ordinary wear and tear (and subsequent repairs, cleaning, and/or renovation services), your landlord may take all or part of your security deposit.
Additionally, if you break your lease early or if there are unpaid rent and/or expenses, you run the danger of losing your security deposit. These terms, which are often outlined in your contract, can be a little hazy. Read everything carefully, stay in touch with your landlord the entire time you’re renting from them, remember to request an itemized statement if there are any partial deductions, and always ask questions. And if you need additional help, contact us right away!