If I made a wine stain on the mattress of my apartment, is it legal for the landlord to deduct the cost of a new mattress from my deposit?

UPDATED: Feb 22, 2012

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If I made a wine stain on the mattress of my apartment, is it legal for the landlord to deduct the cost of a new mattress from my deposit?

I was renting month to month for 4 months. I gave the landlord 30 days notice. He was unable to give me my deposit when I moved out as we originally discussed he said he could give it two weeks later but that he was deducting the cost of a new mattress because of the stain.

Asked on February 22, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York


S.J.H., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A landlord is entitled to deduct the cost of a repair from the security deposit or if a repair cannot be made, the replacement cost of the item. The damage has to be such that it is unreasonable for the landlord to have to incur the cost of the item. If it is merely wear and tear based upon the use of the apartment he would not be able to deduct the cost, such as standard repainting or carpet cleaning. In your case, a wine stain is not a normal wear and tear situation and would require the landlord to buy a new one as it is reasonable to think a new tenant would request it be changed. Thus, he is correct to take it from your security.  

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