Requires a landlord to return to a tenant the full security deposit within thirty days of the surrender of the premises by such tenant unless the landlord provides such tenant with a written statement listing the reasons for the retention of any portion of the deposit; sets forth particular situations for which the landlord may retain such security deposit; renders the landlord liable for treble damages for any violation.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general obligations law, in relation to the return of a security deposit by a landlord
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill would add a new section 7-104 to the general obligations law, that will require a landlord who withholds all or any part of a tenant's security deposit, to notify the tenant by written statement listing the reasons for retention within 30 days after the surrender and acceptance of the premises. At that time, the landlord will be required to deliver the statement giving the reasons for retention, along with the difference if any, between the security deposit and the amount retained. A landlord's retention of a security deposit in violation of this section, will make the landlord liable for treble the amount of the security deposit wrongfully withheld from the tenant, together with reasonable attorney fees and court costs incurred by the tenant.
JUSTIFICATION: This bill would provide protection of tenants from possible misuse and unjustified retention of their security deposits by dishonest and negligent landlords. The bill in no way affects the legitimate ability of a landlord to retain all or part of a security deposit for nonpayment of rent or utility charges, abandonment of premises, damages caused by the tenant to premises, and cleaning contracted by the tenant. However, as it now stands, some landlords make deductions from security deposits for repairs that are never made, or overcharge a tenant for repair's made, or charge a tenant for damages that were preexistent. Moreover, many landlords fail to return security deposits within a reasonable period of time. This bill will act to eliminate these situations by imposing the burden of proof upon the landlord when all or part of a security deposit is retained, and by sanctioning violations with a penalty of triple the amount of any misapplied deductions on the part of the landlord.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2011-12: S.1276 - Died in Judiciary 2010: S.1441 (Duane), Died in Codes 2009: S.1441 (Duane), Died in Codes 2008: S.2311 (Duane), Died in Judiciary 2007: S.2311 (Duane), Died in Judiciary 2006: S.7070 (Duane), Died in Judiciary
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: The sixtieth day after it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 159 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________Introduced by Sen. PARKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary AN ACT to amend the general obligations law, in relation to the return of a security deposit by a landlord THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The general obligations law is amended by adding a new section 7-104 to read as follows: S 7-104. MONEY DEPOSITED OR ADVANCED FOR USE OR RENTAL OF ANY DWELL- ING; RETENTION. 1. DEFINITIONS. FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS SECTION: (A) THE TERM "SECURITY DEPOSIT" SHALL MEAN ANY ADVANCE OR DEPOSIT OF MONEY THAT IS SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 7-103 OF THIS TITLE, AND THE PRIMARY FUNCTION OF WHICH IS TO SECURE THE PERFORMANCE OF A RENTAL AGREEMENT FOR THE USE OR RENTAL OF ANY DWELLING OR ANY PART THER- EOF. (B) THE TERM "LANDLORD" SHALL MEAN ANY PERSON WHO RECEIVES PAYMENT FROM A TENANT FOR THE RENTAL OR USE OF ANY DWELLING OR ANY PORTION THER- EOF AND HAS RECEIVED A SECURITY DEPOSIT IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH RENTAL. (C) THE TERM "TENANT" SHALL MEAN ANY PERSON WHO OCCUPIES ANY DWELLING OR ANY PORTION THEREOF FOR WHICH HE OR SHE PAYS RENT AND WHO, IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH RENTAL, HAS FURNISHED A SECURITY DEPOSIT. 2. A LANDLORD SHALL, WITHIN THIRTY DAYS AFTER THE TENANT VACATES THE DWELLING RETURN TO THE TENANT THE FULL SECURITY DEPOSIT AND ANY ACCRUED INTEREST TO WHICH THE TENANT IS ENTITLED. 3. A LANDLORD MAY RETAIN ALL OR A PART OF A SECURITY DEPOSIT FOR NONPAYMENT OF RENT, USE AND OCCUPANCY, UNJUSTIFIABLE ABANDONMENT OF THE PREMISES PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF THE LEASE TERM, NONPAYMENT OF UTILI- TY CHARGES, REPAIR WORK OR CLEANING CONTRACTED BY THE TENANT OR DAMAGES CAUSED BY THE TENANT TO THE PREMISES. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LANDLORD RETAINS ANY PORTION OF THE SECURITY DEPOSIT, HE OR SHE SHALL PROVIDE THEEXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD01952-01-3 S. 159 2
TENANT WITH A WRITTEN STATEMENT LISTING THE REASONS FOR THE RETENTION OF SUCH PORTION OF THE SECURITY DEPOSIT. WHEN THE STATEMENT IS DELIVERED IT SHALL BE ACCOMPANIED BY PAYMENT OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ANY SUM DEPOS- ITED AND THE AMOUNT RETAINED. THE LANDLORD SHALL BE DEEMED TO HAVE COMPLIED WITH THIS SECTION BY MAILING THE STATEMENT AND ANY PAYMENT REQUIRED TO THE TENANT'S NEW ADDRESS, IF KNOWN BY THE LANDLORD, OR TO THE LAST KNOWN ADDRESS OF THE TENANT. 4. THE WILLFUL RETENTION OF A SECURITY DEPOSIT IN VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION SHALL RENDER A LANDLORD LIABLE FOR TREBLE THE AMOUNT OF THAT PORTION OF THE SECURITY DEPOSIT WRONGFULLY WITHHELD FROM THE TENANT, TOGETHER WITH REASONABLE ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COURT COSTS. IN ANY ACTION BROUGHT BY A TENANT UNDER THIS SECTION, THE LANDLORD SHALL BEAR THE BURDEN OF PROVING THAT HIS OR HER WITHHOLDING OF THE SECURITY DEPOSIT OR ANY PORTION THEREOF WAS NOT WILLFUL. 5. ANY PROVISION OF A CONTRACT OR AGREEMENT WHEREBY A PERSON WHO SO DEPOSITS OR ADVANCES MONEY WAIVES ANY PROVISION OF THIS SECTION IS ABSO- LUTELY VOID. S 2. This act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall have become a law.