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How to Get Your Security Deposit Back

A security deposit is a sum of money payed by the tenant to the landlord at the beginning of a lease.  This money is used to protect the landlord in case the tenant owes them money at the end of their lease.  The problem, however, is that many times the landlord keeps the security deposit without proper reason.  To better protect your security deposit, follow these guidelines.  (Related topics: landlord-tenant law NYC, commercial real estate attorney in NYC)

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Understand the Lease

Some people may get excited about finding a property and sign the lease without properly reading it.  It’s important to read it, however, so that you understand the terms of the lease and can possibly negotiate them as well.  Many leases state that your security deposit won’t be affected by “ordinary wear and tear”, but you and your landlord should have a clear understanding of what that includes so that you’re not surprised at the end of your lease.


Document Existing Damage

When you move into your property, make sure to check for existing damage.  If you find any, you should take videos and pictures of it, as well as make a written record of it.  By doing so, your landlord shouldn’t be able to deduct these damages from your deposit.


Unauthorized Repairs

If you made any repairs without getting authorization, such as painting the walls, the landlord is allowed to deduct money from your deposit to restore the changes.


Overused Utilities

Sometimes as a tenant, it’s easy to forget about the cost of utilities when it’s included in the rent.  If the landlord thinks that the price of your utilities are unreasonable, though, they may charge you for the extra costs.


Moved Out Without Proper Notice

When you move out of the property, you should give proper notice as stated in the lease, usually a 30 or 60 day notice.  If you don’t give your notice in writing, your landlord may keep your security deposit as reimbursement for the rent you would have payed.


If you feel like your landlord is unfairly keeping your security deposit, a tenant lawyer in New York will fight for your deposit back.  Contact your local tenant lawyer in New York for more information.