In New York, the tenant's security deposit can be used by the landlord to only cover unpaid rent, damages beyond ordinary wear and tear, unpaid utility costs and for cleaning the property if the tenant left it dirtier than when they first moved in. The landlord must repay the security deposit or the balance after deducting any legal deductions and send an itemized list of deductions within "a reasonable time" (interpreted to be 21-45 days) to the tenant.
Damages resulting from regular use such as loose door knobs, worn carpet, or fading curtains are considered normal and are not the liability of the tenant. However, broken furniture, broken locks, big dents on the walls or broken bathroom tiles are some examples of substantial damages considered to be a result of tenants carelessness and negligence, and costs on these can be deducted on the security deposit.
New York tenants who experience issues with the landlords excessively charging them or making irrelevant deductions have a number of options to consider to get their rightful security deposit back. The first option is to send a well-written letter to the landlord to claim back their withheld security deposit. In your letter, you need to first confirm that you have received the itemized list of the deductions and why you dispute the deductions. To avoid complications in future, be sure to always document everything including communications with the landlord.
This Damages Claim Dispute Letter reflects the New York landlord-tenant laws and reminds the landlord of their obligation to adhere to the laws by paying the rightful amount of security deposit in good faith. This letter is usually all it takes to get back the owed amount without stepping foot in court. When sending the letter, be sure to use certified mail and retain a copy for yourself.