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Security Deposit Return Laws in New York

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

When you're a renter in New York, you'll likely have to pay a security deposit, which is a sum of money (usually one month's rent) that has the purpose of lessening the financial hit to a landlord if a tenant breaks the lease or damages the property. There are no statutory limits on security deposits in New York for non-rent stabilized property and the security deposits will vary based on where you live. If the apartment is rent-stabilized, then the landlord is only allowed to charge a month's rent.

Security Deposit Return Laws in New York Summary

Landlord security deposit return laws are determined by the jurisdiction where the property is located. Read on for a summary of security deposit return laws in New York.

Statutes

New York General Obligations Law:

  • Section 7-103 (money deposited or advanced for use or rental of real property; waiver void; administration expenses)
  • Section 7-105 (landlord failing to turn over deposits made by tenants or licensees and to notify tenants licensees in certain cases)
  • Section 7-106 (money deposited or advanced for certain installations; waiver void)
  • Section 7-108 (liability of a grantee or assignee for deposits made by tenants upon conveyance of non-rent stabilized dwelling units)

Timeline for the Return of the Security Deposit

New York law states that a landlord is required to return a tenant's security deposit at the termination of tenancy or within a reasonable time after the tenant has surrendered the rental property (returned the keys and left the property) to the landlord.

Because the law doesn't specify an exact number of days, a "reasonable time" is determined by the small claims court judge. Typically, it has usually been ruled to be within the range of 21-45 days.

Mandatory Disclosure to Tenants

When a landlord deposits a tenant's security deposit in a bank or other financial institution, they must notify the tenant of this in writing. The notice must include the following information:

  • The name of the financial institution;
  • The address of the financial institution; and
  • The total amount of money deposited.

What a Landlord Can Withhold

New York allows the landlord to keep the entire security deposit or a portion or it to cover the following:

  • The reasonable cost of repairs;
  • Damage that exceeds normal wear and tear;
  • Unpaid rent; and
  • Additional breaches of the lease agreement.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Security Deposit Return Laws in New York: Related Resources

Discuss New York Security Deposit Return Laws with an Attorney

The security deposit return laws in New York can be confusing and complex to many renters. To know where you stand, it's a good idea to talk to a legal professional who understands the law. Discuss your case with an experienced New York attorney to get more information.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

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