NYC Rent Security Deposit Laws

Rent security deposits in NYC and in New York State are capped at one month of rent according to the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019. This limitation does not apply to seasonal rentals of 120 days or less.

Within fourteen days of a tenant vacating, a landlord must provide the tenant with an itemized statement indicating the basis for the amount of the deposit retained, if any, and return any remaining portion of the deposit to the tenant.

Tenants in NYC also have the right to request an inspection before moving in to assess any existing damage, and landlords must draft a written agreement which itemizes any such damage. Additionally, all tenants have the right to request an inspection prior to moving out.

The landlord must disclose the presence of any conditions which may result in a deduction from the security deposit, and the tenant has the opportunity to repair any issues prior to vacating the property.

Is There a Limit on the Size of a Rent Security Deposit in NYC?

Yes. Rental security deposits in NYC are limited to a maximum of one (1) month of rent. Rental regulation changes enacted in 2019 also prohibit the prepayment of rent. This means that the maximum amount of money a New York City landlord may collect upon lease signing is one month of rent and a one month security deposit, for a total of two months.

It’s important to note that the one-month cap on the size of a security deposit does not apply to existing leases which were signed prior to July 14th, 2019.

Rent security deposits in NYC are capped at 1 month of rent. Landlords are required to return security deposits within 14 days of moving out.

A landlord who collected a security deposit in excess of one month for an existing lease is permitted to hold onto the full, original security deposit amount until the expiration of the lease.

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Does the 1 Month Security Deposit Cap Apply to Seasonal Rentals?

The one-month cap on security deposits in NY and NYC does not apply to seasonal rentals of 120 days or less. While the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (“HSTPA”) did not originally exclude seasonal rentals, new legislation was passed in 2021 which excludes seasonal rentals.

Senate Bill S6788, which excludes certain seasonal use rentals from the provisions regulating security deposits and advance rent payments, was signed into law by Governor Kathy Hochul on 9/20/21.

This bill also allows seasonal rentals to collect rent for the entire lease term upfront. This was previously outlawed by HSTPA.

A property must meet the following requirements to qualify as a seasonal use dwelling under the language of the bill:

  • The dwelling must be registered with the appropriate local government, county, or state registry as a seasonal use dwelling.

  • The dwelling may not be rented as a seasonal use property for more than 120 days during each calendar year.

Additionally, the seasonal rental lease must confirm to the following requirements:

  • (i) Expressly provide that the dwelling unit is registered as a seasonal use dwelling unit, indicating the local or county government agency with which it is registered.

  • (ii) State that the occupancy of the tenant is only for seasonal use not to exceed one hundred twenty days or a shorter period.

  • (iii) Provide primary residence address that the tenant will return to upon lease expiration.

When Do Rent Security Deposits in NYC Have to Be Returned?

Rental security deposits must be returned within 14 days of moving out. Under the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, a tenant may also request an inspection of the unit prior to the expiration of the lease. The landlord must disclose to the tenant any potential damage which must be repaired in order to avoid a deduction from the security deposit.

The tenant has the opportunity to cure such damage prior to vacating the unit.

If a landlord fails to provide a tenant with an itemized statement of deductions and any remaining portion of the deposit within 14 days, “the landlord shall forfeit any right to retain any portion of the deposit.”

A new tenant may also request an inspection prior to moving in. The landlord is required to prepare a written agreement which documents all existing damage.

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Can a Landlord in NYC Collect an Extra Security Deposit for a Pet?

No. A landlord is not permitted to collect a security deposit amount in excess of one month, regardless of whether or not a tenant has pets.

According to Section 7-108(1-a)(a) of the New York General Obligations Law (NY GOL), “No deposit or advance shall exceed the amount of one month’s rent under such contract.”

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What If My NYC Landlord Doesn't Return My Security Deposit?

If your landlord fails to return your security deposit or makes undocumented and/or excessive deductions, the best course of action, as with any dispute, is to try and resolve it directly with the landlord. If you’re unable to reach a resolution after a good faith attempt, you may file a case in small claims court and/or file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office.

Disclosure: Hauseit® and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, financial or accounting advice. No representation, guarantee or warranty of any kind is made regarding the completeness or accuracy of information provided. Hauseit LLC is a Licensed Real Estate Broker, licensed to do business in New York under license number 10991232340. Principal Office: 244 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2950, New York, NY 10001.

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