Can a landlord charge you for itemsthat were left behind by another tenant if you took them when you moved out?

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Can a landlord charge you for itemsthat were left behind by another tenant if you took them when you moved out?

We recently moved out of an apartment in Brooklyn. When we moved into the unit, there was a window A/C unit in place. We asked the landlord about it, and she said that it had been left behind by the previous tenant, and we were welcome to it. So when we left the apartment we took the unit with us. Our landlord deducted a large amount $350, from our deposit to cover this in addition to various unsubscribed fees. Is this something I can argue?

Asked on July 23, 2011 New York

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can argue that the air conditioning unit was not the landlord's, but was left behind by the prior tenant. When you asked the landlord about it, she said that you could have the unit. The landlord did not tell you that it was her unit.

If you want to get part of your security deposit back from the landlord, you have several options. You can write the landlord seeking its return and state the reasons why you are entitled to it, you can return the air conditioning unit to the landlord, you can file a small claims action, you can make a complaint with the local landlord/tenant advisory board if you have one.

Hopefully you have a witness who heard the landlord give you the air conditioning unit you were charged $350.00 for. The landlord can charge you for taking the air conditioning unit, but it seems that under the facts you state, the charge is not right.


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