Can a landlord hold one tenant’s deposit for “pest infestation” in amulti-familyrental unit?

Asked on November 7, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

A security deposit may be used by a landlord to pay for damages caused by that tenant (or the tenant's family, guests, pets). "Damages" in this case can include certain forms of extraordinary cleaning (beyond normal wear and tear), such as removing excessive organic garbage creating a health condition; or for exertimination services, IF the tenant can be shown to have caused the pest infestation, whether by not cleaning and keeping garbage around, or by in some fashion bringing the pests in. So it comes down, essentially, to facts: did the tenant in question cause (or at least substantially contribute to) the infestation? If so, then the landlord can apply the security deposit to it.

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