Tenant Law Podcast

Welcome to the Tenant Law Podcast, where we talk about new, interesting, and/or important legal cases affecting New York City tenants. Listen on Apple, Spotify, Youtube. There are also a bunch of great blog posts on this page of tenant questions and Tenant Learning Platform instructor’s answers.

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Protect Your Security Deposit

Feb 21, 2021

Did you know your landlord in New York State can only ask you for one month of security?! Or that your landlord in New York State must respond to you on the return of your security deposit within fourteen days of you moving out?!

Tenant Learning Platform’s series of TikTok’s on security deposits is really hot (almost 23k likes!)

Security Deposits in NYS Can Only Be One Month’s Rent

If you live in New York, your landlord may NOT take more than one month of rent from you for any kind of security deposit or advance!

That means if the landlord says, “I need two months security from you”, that’s illegal.

If the landlord says, “I need one month’s rent as security, and you need to pre-pay the first and last month’s rent” that is illegal too.

If the landlord says, “Oh in addition to the one-month security deposit, I need a “cleaning fee deposit” for when you leave. NOPE – illegal.

This is true in NY if you are in a luxury apartment of a Rent Stabilized apartment and everything in between. This is true in NY even if you just rented an apartment for a few months on Airbnb.

NYS General Obligations Law § 7-107 was amended so that, “No [residential] deposit or advance shall exceed the amount of one month’s rent under such contract.”

In NY you do not need to give the landlord more than one month’s rent in advance as security or for any other purpose. 

Landlords Must Respond to Tenants Re Their Security Return Within 14 Days of Tenants Moving Out

In New York, within fourteen days after you move out of your apartment, the landlord must provide you with a written statement, telling you she if intends on keeping some or all of your security deposit, including an itemized list indicating how you damaged in the apartment. If a landlord fails to provide you with this statement and the remaining amount of the deposit within fourteen days, the landlord forfeits any right to retain any portion of the deposit, no matter how you left the apartment.

NYS General Obligations Law § 7-108(1-a)(e) states:

“Within fourteen days after the tenant has vacated the premises, the landlord shall provide the tenant with an itemized statement indicating the basis for the amount of the deposit retained, if any, and shall return any remaining portion of the deposit to the tenant. If a landlord fails to provide the tenant with the statement and deposit within fourteen days, the landlord shall forfeit any right to retain any portion of the deposit.”