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Re: security deposit for last month's rent

Posted by TenantNet on November 11, 1998 at 09:20:10:

In Reply to: security deposit for last month's rent posted by S. Romanski on November 06, 1998 at 07:02:22:

: I am hoping to move out of my apartment by the end of the year and I know my landlord will do everything to keep from returning my securiy deposity. Can I legally just use it as my last month's rent if I give him adeqate time to look at the apartment? The problem is he lives in Florida and I am in New York City and I know he will find every excuse possible not to give it back to me. The entire buidling has had heating problems, repair problems, etc. but no one seems to get this guy. The apartment is in better shape then when I got here and I have pictures, etc. but I just want to know if I can just tell him I'm using the deposit to pay the last month's rent. Thank you.

We won't say it's "legal" to use your deposit as the last month's rent, but
that doesn't mean it's "criminal." Many tenants do this for good reason,
and it puts the onus on the owner rather than the tenant. The owner would
be made whole on the issue of rent, so he can't claim economic damages, but
he could claim other damages--those that are meant to be covered by a
security deposit. If he wanted to pursue it, it would be essentially a
dispute between two parties. But you can also claim warranty of habitability
reasons why you broke the lease as you indicate the owner is not fully
providing services. Document those just in case and make sure there
are no physical damages when you leave. Clean the place and take photos
and have a witness.

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