Brooklyn, NY asked in Landlord - Tenant for New York

Q: Hello I wanted to know if you can use your security deposit to cover your last month of rent?

My lease states “landlord may use the security to put amounts owed by tenant, including damages.”

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2 Lawyer Answers
Gregory Byrnes
Gregory Byrnes
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: This is a complicated question because the laws on security deposits chanced in June 2019. Here are the most relevant legal provisions that can assist you:

General Obligations Law Section 7

https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/GOB/7-108

The Rent stabilization code Section2525.4 (if you are rent stabilized)

http://www.tenant.net/Rent_Laws/rsc/rsc2525.html

Elaine Shay
Elaine Shay
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Technically, most leases do not allow a tenant to apply a security deposit to the last month of rent. This makes sense because a security deposit is intended to protect a landlord for the cost of damages to the apartment. If it is used for last month's rent, a landlord would then have no security.

In practice, many tenants refuse to pay last months' rent regardless of lease provisions because of concern landlords may not return the full security deposit or do so in a timely manner. Using your security deposit to cover last month's rent may interfere with getting a positive recommendation from an existing landlord if it is requested by a prospective landlord.

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