Anchorage, AK asked in Real Estate Law and Landlord - Tenant for New York

Q: How can I get forfeited security deposit back (more details below)?

I applied for a New York apartment, it was accepted, and I paid the security deposit. The application states that the security is forfeited after 2 weeks if a lease is not signed. This was on March 17th. We had agreed I could sign the lease in mid-April (no exact date). I had decided to go with a different apartment (19 days later, counting non-business days), but to my understanding, the two weeks would begin 14 days before signing the lease, since there was no agreed upon date. Is there a loophole I could find?

3 Lawyer Answers
Victor M. Feraru
Victor M. Feraru
Answered
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: They are illegally holding your security deposit as there is no such thing. Depending on the amount of the security deposit you should consider engaging an attorney on this as you’ve definitely been wronged.

Peter J. Weinman , Steven Warren Smollens and Tim Akpinar agree with this answer

Daniel Michael Luisi
Daniel Michael Luisi
Answered
  • BROOKLYN, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Have an attorney serve them with a demand letter. You can also report them to DCHR if compliance is not forthcoming.

Peter J. Weinman , Steven Warren Smollens and Tim Akpinar agree with this answer

Steven Warren Smollens
Steven Warren Smollens
Answered
  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: They are taking advantage of you since you are in Anchorage and out of reach of suing in NYC Small Claims Court. There is no such thing as a "security deposit" without the existence of a lease. The two fit as a hand in a glove. Whatever money you paid to hold the apartment for you is not a "security deposit." A "security deposit" is not paid with an application. A so-called 'hold deposit' may be subject to a forfeit if there is full advance written disclosure of the risk involved in refusing to enter into a lease, and the prospective tenant signed a written acknowledgment of that risk.

Peter J. Weinman and Daniel Michael Luisi agree with this answer

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