What Is A Security Deposit?
What Can The Security Deposit Be Used For?
- Your last month’s rent if you don’t pay it when you are moving out.
- The cost of repairs for any damage done to the apartment. It doesn’t include general “wear and tear,” which happens when you are simply occupying the apartment.
- Any unpaid utility bills and maintenance fees (if you, as the renter were supposed to pay the landlord directly)
- Cleaning costs to return the property in the condition it was originally handed over to the tenant.
When Do You Get Your Security Deposit Back?
How Can A Renter Get Their Security Deposit Back In NYC?
- Inspect the apartment thoroughly before you move in and document any problems and damages you see before taking the keys.
- Keep the apartment neat and clean and repair any damages that you have caused in the property (and are your responsibility to fix, not your landlord’s).
- Ideally, don’t break your lease. The law is a bit unclear about whether a landlord can keep your security deposit if you break your lease (after the rent reforms), but in some cases, your deposit might be at risk. You have to help your landlord in re-renting the apartment (like being available for showing the property). If there is no loss of rental income, you pay all your dues, and you give proper notice, you may walk away with your security deposit even after breaking your lease. There might be another penalty fee written into your lease.
- You have a legal right to request and be present at an inspection before you leave the apartment, and the landlord is required to inform you of this right in writing. After the inspection, the landlord is obligated to provide you an itemized list of all the repairs and cleaning you have to do. If you take care of every item on the list, they can’t keep any part of your security deposit for damages to the apartment (or for cleaning it to get it back to its original form). If not, the landlord has the right to use part (or all) of your security deposit for the repairs.
- Meet all your financial obligations, including utility bills, until the day you are leaving the apartment.