Rentals in Albany>Question Details

Sue Wylie,  in Los Angeles County, CA

Can I get an opinion form someone in New York? Whathappens if a tenant occupies a property without siging any lease or rental agreement.

Asked by Sue Wylie, Los Angeles County, CA Thu Jul 1, 2010

theLandlord said they did not want an agreement of any kind. Now the Landlord is telling the tenant they cannot get their 2 months security or pet deposit back, with no good gorunds. Does the tenant have any recourse? IS it even legal for an owner to rent without some kind of agreement in writing?

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Help the community by answering this question:


I'm not a lawyer and I'm not from New York. But many elements of your question are applicable in other areas, too.

Yes, it's legal for an owner to rent without some kind of agreement in writing. A written agreement (in real estate) makes the agreement enforceable. But it's just as legal either way.

The problem, however, is that the tenant doesn't have a written agreement establishing the intended disposition of the security deposit or pet deposit. The tenant can say that it was to be refunded. The landlord can claim something different--for example, that the two months was for first and last month's rent and therefore shouldn't be refunded. Or the landlord might say that the tenant moved out earlier than the oral agreement provided and that, therefore, he's retaining the security deposit as damages.

In that case, how do you establish who's telling the truth? Tip: Look for any evidence. For example, if the tenant wrote a check, did he/she note in the memo line that it was for a security deposit?

Check with a lawyer for further guidance.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 2, 2010
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
If the lease was month to month and no damages occurred during occupation, you should be entitled to your security deposit back--for any legalities do consult with an attorney who specializes in real estate.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 2, 2010
Sue without a lease teh tenant becomes a tenant at will which in simple terms means your are a month to month or a 30 day tenant, they can move with a 30 day notice or be asked to leave with a 30 day notice or have their rent increased with a 30 day notice.

As far as security deposits, no matter what type of tenant you are, whether you have a lease or not, security deposits are heavily regulated, a landlord can not just keep it without legal cause. Security deposit rules also mandate how much of a security deposit a landlord can accept, here in Nh for instance they can only collect 1 month security, they can not demand pet deposits, last months rent just your 1st months rent and 1 month security deposit. upon 30 days of moving out they have to retrun the deposit in full or have an itemized bill with receipts to repair any damage.

If you google NY landlord tenant law security deposits, it will pull up the the law in NY for you. There are sever penanlties for landlords who violate the law like triple damages in some cases.
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 2, 2010
You don't necessarily need a lease - you can be month to month. With respect to the deposit and deposit, if there's no damage or valid reason to retain those funds, I would go to small claims court and/or seek legal advice.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 2, 2010
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