Can my landlord keep a security deposit because he is angry with me?

After I moved into my apartment my landlord built a bar underneath it. The bass is so loud it shakes my apartment and I cannot sleep. Drunk people climb my fire escape and bang on my windows, the bar fights have resulted in broken glass doors and countless nights of no sleep. My landlord also installed a full outdoor bar that blocks my only entrance. I was ID’d upon trying to enter my own apartment twice. I asked my landlord if I could end the lease and he agreed to give back my security deposit and let me leave. Now he is saying deal is off because I called police about noise. Can he do that?

Asked on August 17, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The security deposit is a cleaning deposit.  The landlord cannot keep your security deposit because he is angry. 

You can sue the landlord for breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment.  The covenant of quiet enjoyment is in every lease and means that a tenant cannot be disturbed in his or her use and enjoyment of the premises.  In your lawsuit for breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment, you can also include a separate cause of action (claim) to enforce the agreement with the landlord for the return of your security deposit and termination of the lease.

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