What is a tenant’s right to return of their security deposit if there was no written lease?

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What is a tenant’s right to return of their security deposit if there was no written lease?

I rented the spare room in my NYC apartment. After a lengthy search i chose a guy i thought was a good fit. He payed the first months rent + security deposit of equal amount. It was supposed to be a long term rental with standard 30 day notice. He was not put on my lease. I was away on business for 16 of the 20 days and had yet to put anything in writing. On the 20th day he text me while I was away and said, “I moved out, when can I get my security deposit back?” Prior to this he never expressed anything was not to his liking. I now have 9 days to cover rent. Can I use his security deposit?

Asked on June 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Ok so here are my concerns for you.  One,that renting out the spare room violates YOUR lease agreement and if the landlord finds out you could be in deep trouble.  As for the tenant in the spare room. he is a month to month tenant and he needed to give you 30 days notice that he was moving.  Security deposits in New York are not applied to back rent.  You need to sue for that.  It is to rectify a bad condition in the apartment left when the tenant vacated.  You really need to seek some legal counsel here.  This guy can make a lot of trouble for you and you need to weigh your options.  Good luck.


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