Most residential leases and rental agreements in New York require a security deposit. This is a dollar amount, usually one month's rent, that's intended to cover damage to the premises beyond normal wear and tear, and to cushion the financial blow if a tenant skips out early on the lease without paying. Here’s a summary of New York landlord-tenant laws that cover the use and return of security deposits.
Yes. One month's limit for units other than those subject to the City Rent and Rehabilitation Law or the Emergency Housing Rent Control Law.
To learn more about steps tenants can take to protect their security deposit after they've paid it, check out Nolo's article Protect Your Security Deposit When You Move In.
Under New York law, a landlord must return the tenant's security deposit within 14 days after the tenant has surrendered the rental property to the landlord—that is, returned the keys and vacated the property.
Landlords must give advance notice before making any deductions from a security deposit.
Learn more about tenants' rights and landlords' obligations when it comes to the return of the security deposit in Nolo's Cleaning and Repairs a Landlord Can Deduct from a Security Deposit chart and Get Your Security Deposit Back article.
Yes. If a deposit is placed in a bank, landlords in New York must disclose the name and address of the financial institution where the security deposit is being held and the amount of the deposit. The landlord in every rental situation may retain an administrative fee of 1% per year on the sum deposited. Also in New York, landlords of nonregulated units in buildings with six or more units must pay tenants interest on the security deposit. The interest can be subtracted from the rent, paid at the end of each year, or paid at the end of the tenancy (according to the tenant's choice).
If you want to go right to the source and look up New York law on security deposits—or if you're writing a letter to a landlord or tenant and want to cite the applicable law—the relevant statute(s) can be found at N.Y. General Obligations Law sections 7-103 to 7-108 (2020). To access New York statutes, visit the New York State Senate's website, or check out the Library of Congress’s legal research site.
The New York attorney general's website also offers a list of New York housing and renting resources.