Do I have the right to my security deposit if I was an illegal subtenant?

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Do I have the right to my security deposit if I was an illegal subtenant?

I was renting a room month-to-month from this girl. I moved out and never got my security deposit back. I still have the check receipt she gave me. She was the only name on the lease, so I’m assuming I was technically an illegal subtenant. Do I have any rights with regards to getting my security deposit back? Can I take her to small claims court?

Asked on October 4, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you were a subtenant for a particular person who was for all intents and purposes the landlord as to you, you are entitled to the return of your security deposit within so many days of move out. In most states the time period for its return is 21 to 45 days after move out.

If the full amount is not returned, the landlord is required to send a written itemization to the former tenant of what some of the security deposit was used for as well as back up (receipt and invoices) and return the balance of the unused security deposit.

I suggest writing the landlord that you subleased from demanding the return of your security deposit within a certain time period. Keep a copy of the letter for future reference. If you do not receive its return by the date demanded, you option is small claims court.

Good luck.


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