Will I lose my security deposit for a grease fire that I did not start?

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Will I lose my security deposit for a grease fire that I did not start?

I live in a house that we rent with 4 other people, one of my roommates was cooking dinner and accidentally started a grease fire. The fire destroyed the kitchen, and my landlord used our security deposits to fix the apartment. Now we are getting a new lease because our rent went up, and I was told that we have to pay a new security deposit. Is that right/ legal?

Asked on July 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You are responsible for damages caused to rented premises by yourself, by your roommates, or by your guests. If there were 5 of you total and one of you destroyed the kitchen, then the landlord does have recourse against you for the destruction and can use your security deposits to pay for the repairs. If you old lease terminates and there is a new lease with a new (presumably larger) security deposit, the landlord may charge you a wholly new deposit and use the deposit from the old lease to pay for the repair or replacement of the kitchen. If only one of the 5 of you caused the fire, the other four may have grounds to sue the fifth to recover from him or the money which they were forced to pay due to his or her negligence.


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