senate Bill S159

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Requires return of a security deposit by a landlord within 30 days unless the landlord gives written notice of retention for legally authorized cause

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to judiciary
Jan 09, 2013 referred to judiciary

S159 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Senate Judiciary
Law Section:
General Obligations Law
Laws Affected:
Add ยง7-104, Gen Ob L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S1276
2009-2010: S1441A

S159 - Bill Texts

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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.

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BILL NUMBER:S159

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.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                   159

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (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 THE

 EXPLANATION--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.

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