How Can I Get My Security Deposit Back When Moving Out of an Apartment? - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Nov 8, 2023

How Can I Get My Security Deposit Back When Moving Out of an Apartment?

Moving out of an apartment is a momentous change, and the uncertainty of whether you will get your security deposit back or not can add to that stress. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to better the chances you receive your deposit money back in a timely fashion. Continue reading below to learn seven steps to help you get your security deposit back.

1)     Read Your Lease

Understanding and following the terms of your lease is the first step in ensuring your security deposit is returned. If the terms of a lease are followed and there is no damage beyond everyday wear and tear, you should be entitled to your security deposit upon moving out.

2)     Inspect Property for Damage

When moving into a new rental unit, you should first inspect the property and take pictures of existing damage prior to settling in. Doing so can save you from the headache of disputing pre-existing damages,  when the time comes for you to move out. Be thorough and record any findings to send to your landlord in writing.

3)     Request a Walk-Through with Your Landlord

Prior to moving out, consider requesting a walk-through of the rental property with your landlord. In New York State, your landlord must allow you to be present for the inspection and notify you of anything requiring repairs or cleaning. By evaluating the property with the owner before moving out, you afford yourself the opportunity to reveal any damages that your landlord might wish to allocate your security deposit to.

4)     Be Thorough in Your Cleaning

Make it a point to revert your rental to its original condition prior to your moving in. If your landlord has any findings in a walk-through of the apartment, focus heavily on remedying those areas. While this step may involve some expenses for repairs, it could be the deciding factor on whether or not you receive your security deposit after moving out.

5)     Know Your Rights as a Tenant

If you have followed the previous steps you should be entitled to your security deposit, but knowing your rights as a tenant is potentially the most important step you can take. New York State law requires landlords to return a tenants’ security deposit within 14 days of the tenant moving out, unless the unit is rent stabilized or rent controlled. If your landlord elects to use your security deposit funds for damages, they are required to provide you with an itemized receipt within 14 days.

6)     Follow-Up with Your Landlord

Reach out to your landlord if you still have not received your security deposit or a receipt indicating the funds were used, within two weeks of you moving out.

7)     File a Rent Security Complaint Form

If after two weeks you are still missing your security deposit or proof that it was allocated for damages, consider filing a Rent Security Complaint form with the Office of New York State Attorney General Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection. If it is found that your landlord deliberately broke this law, you could be entitled to up to twice the amount of your security deposit.

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