How canI get my security deposit back?

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How canI get my security deposit back?

My landlord is renting his house illegally. He refused to sign lease, now I want to move out but he refuses to return my security deposit. What should I do?

Asked on April 11, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

He has to provide your security deposit--he has no other options--IF you do not violate your lease, including oral or verbal lease. A landlord may only withhold a security deposit for (1) unpaid rent, after a tenant moves out; or (2) to pay for repairs to the premises caused by the tenant's actions.

Assuming you have not damaged the house, as long as you do not owe unpaid rent when you move out, you must get your security deposit back. If there is no written lease, then you are renting pursuant to an oral or verbal lease; that means you are a month-to-month tenant, and you can terminate your tenancy on 1 month's notice. So a  month-to-month tenant could provide 1 month's notice, then move out; if the landlord does not return the deposit, the tenant could sue for its recover, and possibly for additional compensation, too.


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