If I paid a security deposit, can my housemates on the lease keep it if I for left but gave 30 days notice?

UPDATED: Dec 13, 2011

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If I paid a security deposit, can my housemates on the lease keep it if I for left but gave 30 days notice?

I paid a security deposit and the first months rent to a room share I found on Craigslist. I was going to sign a lease but decided it was not a good fit. Nothing was signed but after about 1/2 of a month I gave 30 days notice that I would be leaving. The people on the lease found a person to fill my room but not for another month after I planned on leaving and are now threatening to keep my security deposit in lieu of rent for the time that the room will be empty. Is this legal? Without any paperwork is there any way for me to get my money returned to me?

Asked on December 13, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Custom and practice in the real estate field is that security deposits are for damage caused by the tenant upon move out to pay for damages. The only time that the security deposit can be used for unpaid rent is if the written lease agreement provides clearly that it can be used for such.

I would write the person or persons holding your security deposit of the need to have it returned to you by a certain date keeping a copy of it for future need. If not returned by that date, your option is to bring a small claims court action for the return of your security deposit.


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