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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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I rented part of a loft in Brooklyn. I was a roommate and

Customer Question

I rented part of a loft in Brooklyn. I was a roommate and had an oral agreement with my roommate and leaseholder. to pay $800 a month in rent. Give 30 days notice to vacate and to pay a $1,600 deposit. The agreement was that he would return my deposit if I gave the requisite notice and there was no damage, etc. Now he is messing with me and only wants to give me back $1,000. Is there anything that I can do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 1 year ago.

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacEsq :

What are his reasons for not giving you the entire amount? Have you already vacated the loft?

Customer:

Scott: I am a probate lawyer in Austin, Texas. My son is the roommate in Brooklyn, and I am trying to help him. He has vacated. He gave the notice. He thinks the leaseholder is just being a jerk. There is no written agreement. He has written a letter describing the chronology of events and his recollection of the oral agreement. Does he have any redress? Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX Austin, Texas for Eric Breeding, Brooklyn, NY

ScottyMacEsq :

No question about it (about the leaseholder being a jerk). Yes, even without a written lease the leaseholder is subject to NY laws on security deposits. Under New York law, a landlord (here he's the sub landlord in a sublease) must return the tenant's security deposit within a reasonable time after the tenant has surrendered the rental property to the landlord--that is, returned the keys and vacated the property. What's "reasonable" would ultimately be up to a small claims court judge (should a deposit dispute end up in court), but it typically means a window of 21 to 45 days.

ScottyMacEsq :

The only thing that does not apply under NY law is that the security deposit would need to be kept in an interest bearing account (that's the case where there are 6 or more units)

ScottyMacEsq :

Landlord tenant law in the state of New Yorkis very clear There are specific steps and requirments that a landlord must meet regarding security deposits.If the landlord does not follow the exact letter of the law then their right to withhold ANY of the deposit money is forfeited completely. In this case Tenant laws in the State of New York force the landlord to return 100% of the security desposit.


"This is a notice of my intention to impose a claim for damages in the amount of upon your security deposit, due to . It is sent to you as required by s. 83.49(3), New York Statutes. You are hereby notified that you must object in writing to this deduction from your security deposit within 15 days from the time you receive this notice or I will be authorized to deduct my claim from your security deposit. Your objection must be sent to (landlord’s address)" If the landlord fails to give the required notice within the 30-day period, he or she forfeits the right to impose a claim upon the security deposit.



I would suggest that he send a demand letter demanding payment within 30 days, otherwise he will pursue legal action against him, seeking that amount plus any additional damages as allowed by law. Send this letter certified, return receipt requested, as well as a copy sent regular mail. Keep a copy, as well as the return receipt number so that he can show the court that he made a demand for the security deposit.

ScottyMacEsq :

If he still does not pay, he should do a search on the web for his closest "small claims court." You should find either a website or phone number to the small claims clerk. Ask them what you need to do to bring such a lawsuit. The small claims clerk will give you guidance on how to file this suit and how to get the other party served with notice. You will receive a hearing date, at which you should present your evidence and ask for a judgment for the amount paid, plus fees and costs.

ScottyMacEsq :

Unfortunately NY does not have any double or triple damage provisions for deposits kept in bad faith, but he can still recover the entire amount if this individual does not return it.

Customer:

Isn't there some sort of housing court in NYC?

ScottyMacEsq :

Yes, there is, but that's typically for evictions, holdovers, nonpayment situations, etc...

ScottyMacEsq :

Security deposit cases, on the other hand, can be brought in a simple small claims action.

Customer:

ok, THANK YOU FOR YOUR ADVICE. I am completely satisfied. Susanna Bond

ScottyMacEsq, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 11695
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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