Bill Text: NY A05963 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Limits security deposits to one month's rent; requires landlords to return the full security deposit and any accrued interest to which the tenant is entitled less any amount retained by the landlord within 21 days of the end of the lease.

Spectrum: Moderate Partisan Bill (Democrat 14-2)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-02-20 - referred to judiciary [A05963 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A05963-Introduced.html


                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
                                          5963
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    February 20, 2019
                                       ___________
        Introduced by M. of A. BARNWELL -- read once and referred to the Commit-
          tee on Judiciary
        AN  ACT  to  amend the general obligations law, in relation to requiring
          landlords to return security deposits within a reasonable time
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section  1.  The  general  obligations  law is amended by adding a new
     2  section 7-104 to read as follows:
     3    § 7-104. Money deposited or advanced for use or rental of  any  dwell-
     4  ing; retention. 1. Definitions.  For the purpose of this section:
     5    (a)  The  term "security deposit" shall mean any advance or deposit of
     6  money that is subject to the provisions of section 7-103 of this  title,
     7  and  the  primary  function  of  which is to secure the performance of a
     8  rental agreement for the use or rental of any dwelling or any part ther-
     9  eof.
    10    (b) The term "landlord" shall mean any  person  who  receives  payment
    11  from a tenant for the rental or use of any dwelling or any portion ther-
    12  eof and has received a security deposit in connection with such rental.
    13    (c)  The term "tenant" shall mean any person who occupies any dwelling
    14  or any portion thereof for which  he  or  she  pays  rent  and  who,  in
    15  connection with such rental, has furnished a security deposit.
    16    2.  No  security  deposit  for  a  dwelling shall exceed more than one
    17  month's rent.
    18    3. A month prior to the expiration of the lease,  the  landlord  shall
    19  notify all tenants that they have the option to conduct a pre-exit walk-
    20  through  with the landlord to document any and all damages, as well as a
    21  post-exit walk-through with the landlord to document any damages  caused
    22  while  moving out that may impact the value of the security deposit. The
    23  post-exit walk-through cannot be after the last day of the lease.
    24    4. A landlord shall, within twenty-one days of the end of  the  lease,
    25  return  to the tenant the full security deposit and any accrued interest
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD07299-01-9

        A. 5963                             2
     1  to which the tenant is entitled less any amount retained by the landlord
     2  under subdivision five of this section.
     3    5.  (a)  A landlord may retain all or a part of a security deposit for
     4  nonpayment of rent, use and occupancy, unjustifiable abandonment of  the
     5  premises prior to the expiration of the lease term, nonpayment of utili-
     6  ty  charges, repair work or cleaning contracted by the tenant or damages
     7  caused by the tenant to the premises.
     8    (b) (i) In the event that the landlord  retains  any  portion  of  the
     9  security  deposit,  he  or  she  shall provide the tenant with a written
    10  statement listing the reasons for the retention of such portion  of  the
    11  security  deposit  within  twenty-one  calendar  days  after  the  lease
    12  expired.
    13    (ii) The written statement shall  include  photographic  documentation
    14  for  all  reasons  for  retention regarding damages by the tenant to the
    15  dwelling and a detailed itemized receipt of repair for such damage.  The
    16  itemized  receipt  shall include proof of the cost for the repair of any
    17  listed damage on said receipt.  The itemized receipt shall also  include
    18  proof of the payment in full by the landlord for the cost of the repair.
    19  If  the  landlord or landlord's employee did not do the repair work, the
    20  landlord shall provide the tenant a copy of the paid bill, paid invoice,
    21  or receipt showing payment in full, supplied by  the  person  or  entity
    22  performing the work.  The itemized receipt shall provide the tenant with
    23  the  name,  address,  and  telephone  number of the person or entity who
    24  performed the repair work. If the landlord and/or his  or  her  employee
    25  performed  the  repair  work,  the  itemized  receipt  shall  reasonably
    26  describe the work performed and any hourly rate charged for the landlord
    27  and any employee.
    28    (c) When the statement is delivered, it shall be signed by  the  land-
    29  lord attesting to the accuracy of the statement. All tenants whose secu-
    30  rity  deposit  is  being  retained  shall sign the written statement and
    31  return a signed copy to the landlord if the tenant agrees to the accura-
    32  cy of the statement.
    33    (d) When the statement is signed by the tenant  and  returned  to  the
    34  landlord, the landlord shall return to the tenant their security deposit
    35  and any accrued interest to which the tenant is entitled less any amount
    36  retained  by  the  landlord  under  this subdivision as agreed to in the
    37  statement signed by the tenant.
    38    (e) If the tenant does not believe the statement is accurate and  thus
    39  does not sign, the statement was not signed by the landlord, the remain-
    40  der  of  the security deposit is not returned within twenty-one calendar
    41  days after the lease expired, or repairs cannot reasonably be  completed
    42  within  twenty-one calendar days after the lease expired, the tenant may
    43  invoke the use of the New York state attorney general's mediation  proc-
    44  ess  and, if the mediation process fails or is not used, bring an action
    45  in small claims court.
    46    6. The willful retention of a security deposit in  violation  of  this
    47  section  shall  render  a  landlord liable for treble the amount of that
    48  portion of the security deposit wrongfully  withheld  from  the  tenant,
    49  together  with reasonable attorneys' fees, court costs, and the last two
    50  months' rent paid by the tenant. In any action brought by a tenant under
    51  this section, the landlord shall bear the burden of proving that his  or
    52  her  withholding  of the security deposit or any portion thereof was not
    53  willful. This section shall not limit any other penalties  the  landlord
    54  could be subjected to.

        A. 5963                             3
     1    7.  Any  provision  of a contract or agreement whereby a person who so
     2  deposits or advances money waives any provision of this section is abso-
     3  lutely void.
     4    8.  Any  landlord  found  in violation of this section shall have each
     5  infraction reported to the department of homes  and  community  renewal,
     6  who  shall  compile a list of landlords who have violated the provisions
     7  of this section including, but not limited  to,  which  provisions  were
     8  violated.  The department of homes and community renewal shall post such
     9  list  on  their  website, and such information can be requested in paper
    10  format by members of the public.
    11    § 2. This act shall take effect on the sixtieth  day  after  it  shall
    12  have become a law.
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