Q: Can i get my security deposit back
My landlord for the last apartment I was in had a security deposit of $750 dollars. I paid this and lived in his apartment for over a year on a month to month basis for the same price of $750 dollars. I found a new apartment in December of 2022 and told my landlord about this on December 26th, and left on the 31st. He was in Florida on vacation until January 14th. I asked him about my security deposit, and said he wasn't giving it to me because by law I had to give him 30 days notice and I only gave him a few days notice, and he said he lost a month of rent due to me leaving on such short notice. There was no lease signing for this apartment, and he never once mentioned that I needed to give him 30 days notice before I move out. He didn't say anything in the apartment was damaged. Can I sue him in small claims court and win?
A: The landlord has a duty to decrease (mitigate) his damages. The landlord also has a duty to return your security deposit within 14 days of you vacating the premises. Landlord was supposed to deduct the cost of the damages that you caused to the apartment from your security deposit. Since your landlord failed to provide you with an itemization of the damages to the apartment and to return your security deposit within 14 days of you vacate the premises, your landlord, would not be able to legally retain any portion of your security deposit. You should be able to successfully sue for twice the amount of your security deposit for his/her failure to comply with the law.
Steven Warren Smollens agrees with this answer
A: Under the law, as a month to month tenant, you were required to give your landlord 30 days notice of your intention to vacate; ie, you were required to notify him on or before November 30 that you intended to vacate by December 31st.
Outside NYC any NYS tenant ends a tenancy without a lease by providing the landlord with at least One Month advance notification. This notice is not required in NYC where no statutory advance notification is required. You did not say if you lived in NYC.
Outside NYC the law says:
"...§ 232-b. Notification to terminate monthly tenancy or tenancy from
month to month outside the city of New York. A monthly tenancy or
tenancy from month to month of any lands or buildings located outside of
the city of New York may be terminated by the tenant or for a tenancy
other than a residential tenancy the landlord, upon the tenant's or
non-residential landlord's notifying the landlord or non-residential
tenant at least one month before the expiration of the term of the
tenant's election to terminate..." [https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/laws/RPP/232-B]
If the tenancy period ran for a normal month from the first day of the month through the last day of the month, any notification made in December 2022 would act to end the tenancy on January 31, 2023.
But, your landlord blew it. Without providing you written itemization of the deduction of the rent due on January 1, 2023, within 14 days after you moved out, your landlord "lost" the entitlement to a deduction for any reason, including rent owed from the tenant's security deposit.
Don't get your hopes up high. You will sue your landlord for the willful failure to return the tenant security deposit and your landlord will counterclaim for the January 2023 rent. The Judge could decide you are entitled to double damages, and should that occur you will prevail with a $750 money judgment. But if the Judge decides that double damages are not proper in this matter, and you win and the landlord wins, your judgments for $750 will cancel out recovery for you and your landlord.
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