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Security deposit being withheld

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What is the name of your state? New York
Our lease expired August 15. We asked when we paid our last months rent (7/15) if the lease was going to be renewed. Our landlords reside in NY City during the week and spend their weekends upstate. Their weekend house is on the same property as the one we rented, we share a driveway, garbage and mail facilities. Despite our asking every weekend the landlord did not tell us he would renew the lease until three weeks later (he never told me, only my fiance), by which time we were already looking at another house to rent . On 8/15, the day that the lease ended, we paid another months rent and told the landlord that we were discussing whether we would release the current property. On 9/1 we found out that we had been approved for the new house and told our current landlords that we would not be staying and that 9/15, the day we were paid through, would be our last day, to which they said ok. When we went to settle up and turn in our keys on 9/15 we were told that they were only returning half of our security deposit to us because we had only given them two weeks notice. There is nothing in the expired lease that indicated a notification period of thirty days and when I explained this to the landlady I was informed that it was an "unwritten law" and that if I found out otherwise they would return the rest of the deposit. Is she correct or am I entitled to the security? The house was left in an immaculate, well-cleaned state, the landlord told us he was happy that we had left it in such "excellent condition". He returned half of our deposit (paid with a check from his personal account) and also paid for the extra fuel oil we had purchased and were relinquishing. Any help is greatly appreciated.


Senior Member
When your lease expired (8/15), your rights to tenancy under the written lease ended. However, by staying in the premises, you then automatically allowed the lease to roll over to a 'month-to-month' at-will tenancy. This means that the ONLY obligation that each party has to the other is 30 days. The landlord can ask you to move with a 30 day notice.... and you must give a 30 day notice to the landlord.

Simply, assuming that there were no additional claims of damages, the landlord would have the legal right to collect for any rent not paid due to your early termination (before 30 day) move-out. Additionally, most states require that the notice be in WRITING, while yours was apparently verbal. So, if correct, the landlord could theoretically demand rent for the FULL 30 days from your 'abandonment of possession' of the premises.... on 9/15!!


Yu say she told you it is unwritten law. There is not such unwritten law. It could be the case that it is a written law in the locality of the house you vacated. Check it out there and verify it for yourself.

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