NYC Apartment - Using the security deposit for the last month's rent
May 2, 2014 10:57 AM Subscribe
What issues (legal and ethical) do I face if I attempt to don't pay my last month's rent, and let my security deposit take its place instead? Details/justifications within...
posted by rock'em sock'em puppets to Home & Garden (30 answers total)
My spouse and I have been living in an apartment in NYC for two years now, and we're not confident that we won't get bilked for our security deposit. As a result, we're debating whether or not to pay the last month's rent, using the security deposit instead (the amounts are not equal, so we would plan on sending a check to make up the small difference).
-We haven't had much contact with the landlord/real estate manager, in general; there is a superintendent who is nice, but very difficult to communicate with, and so whenever possible, we have avoided asking him for help or repairs. When we have spoken with the landlord, he doesn't seem especially helpful or especially shady - the relationship is strictly neutral. But we're concerned about getting our security deposit back for a couple of reasons:
-While we've been living here, the landlord has done lots of construction in other apartments on the building. As a result (and perhaps due to shifting of the overall building as well) there are cracks in the walls, and the bathroom door no longer closes fully. We're concerned that this could be blamed on us, though we did not cause these issues.
-In addition, a couple of months ago, the landlord brought in a crew to open up a small hole in one of the walls to run wiring through to another apartment. They haven't been back to fix it, and I haven't pressed them to, because they did a poor job of cleaning it up on the first visit, and didn't even attempt to clean it on the second visit. Since we were moving out anyway, we thought it was easier to keep the wall taped up than to have to clean up the massive amounts of dust and grime that the crew generated previously.
-Overall, when we moved into the apartment, we found it to be dirty and grimy from construction (it hadn't looked like that when we'd signed the lease), with broken glass and loose screws and nails in a few corners. We wound up doing a significant cleanup ourselves so that we wouldn't have to wait to move in. We are planning on leaving the apartment clean and in better condition than we found it.
-In reviewing the lease, it does stipulate that the security deposit should not cover the last month's rent.
So, in sum: what legal repercussions need we worry about if we decide to forgo paying the last month's rent? Are we being illogical or unethical in deciding to do this? If you think we should pay the last month's rent, how can we be sure that we won't be charged for damages that we did not cause?