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Security Deposit and Prorated Rent?

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Security Deposit and Prorated Rent?

Postby soy or palm oil » Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:28 pm

This is about a twelve month lease for a non-rent stabilized apt. in manhattan (for sure ns, only 3 apt's in the building).

At the end of the lease term, LL and I couldn't agree on a new lease but landlord allowed me to stay on a month to month basis. After a few months, landlord started pressuring me to sign a new lease or move. Ultimately, with LL's consent, I applied one of two months' security deposit toward the last month's rent and told LL I'd be leaving at the end of the month. Very little of this was in writing and then only via phone texts.

As soon as I told LL I would be moving, he demanded a set of keys so he could show my apartment to prospective tenants. Although I gave him keys, I told LL I wanted to be there when he showed it. I also offered specific hours each day after I got home from work. LL protested the arrangement for some days but did not enter apt without me. I soon found a new apartment nearby that was available mid month so I sent LL a text offering access anytime in exchange for letting me leave mid month and returning a half month prorated rent. LL said he would talk to his partners and committed nothing more. However, his agent texted me a couple times afterward to let me know--as I had also asked--that she'd be in my apartment this and that time when I wasn't there.

I moved out on the 15th of the month leaving the place broom clean. I texted LL and notified him I was totally out and that all the remaining keys were left behind in the apartment. LL acknowledged my text. There were a few minor repair items -- three smallish holes in the plaster and I accidentally cracked a window pane when moving out (grr). I took pictures.

LL recently returned part of my security deposit, having withheld what I thought was too much for the repair items. There was no invoice or itemized account of withholding. There was no mention or return of prorated rent.

I have read through the forums and understand that LL is not obligated to provide an itemized list of security deposit deductions. I also understand that LL is normally due for the entire month rent once we've gone month to month.

The questions:
I did see one post in the forum which indicated if tenant vacated and LL took possession of a rent stabilized apartment prior to the end of the month, then prorated rent would need to be returned. Do you believe this is also true of non-stabilized apartments? If so, can you briefly explain? I know LL was showing apartment and doing maintenance/repairs inside during that second half of the month, as LL agent called me for advice on the door lock and an air conditioner was also installed in the window during that time.

The former lease contained a section that stated if lease went month to month, the arrangement could "be terminated on 5 days written notice served by either Lessor or Lessee on the other party." I know this would be unenforcible on the tenent according to NYC law, but since it could benefit me here I wonder if there is any basis for holding the LL to these lease terms?

Half a month's rent is a substantial amount to me, thanks in advance for your opinion.
soy or palm oil
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Joined: Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:06 pm

Postby TenantNet » Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:35 pm

I did see one post in the forum which indicated if tenant vacated and LL took possession of a rent stabilized apartment prior to the end of the month, then prorated rent would need to be returned.

I don't think that's the case. What is the URL? Even if it were, I don't think that's a RS issue. LL's rights of access for showing or repairs are independent of LL's possession. Of course LL could agree to the half-month rent in return for possession, but from what you say, he never got back to you. You could have kept possession (and access) until the end of the month, or as a negotiation tactic.

BTW, never leave the keys in a unit for LL to pick up. The LL could very easily claim he never got the keys (or your message) and that possession has not gone back to him (and your liability for rent would continue). Always hand the keys over in person or by Fedex if not otherwise able, and get acknowledgment of receipt of the keys.
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