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Can my landlord just use my security deposit to pay my rent?

Authored By: Nassau Suffolk Law Services

Normally your landlord does not have to use your security deposit if you cannot pay your rent.

On May 7, 2020 Governor Cuomo ordered that a landlord must allow you to use your security deposit to pay rent if you ask to do so and are experiencing financial hardship because of COVID-19. (Executive Order 202.28)

We are aware that some landlords have argued that the executive order expired June 6, 2020, but it is unclear whether a different Executive Orders  extends this rule  (Executive Order 202.38 and 202.55)

  • You may still ask your landlord to apply your security deposit to pay rent, but it is unclear whether they are required to agree.
  • If you reach an agreement with the landlord about this, the agreement must be in writing, but an email will be enough.
  • A landlord may not harass or threaten a tenant to enter into such an agreement.

If the landlord uses the security deposit for outstanding rent, you must repay the security deposit at a rate of 1/12 the amount used per month.

You must start repaying your security deposit 90 days after the landlord uses it for rent.

In other words, a tenant will have one year to pay back the security deposit to the landlord, in 12 equal monthly installments starting 90 days after the landlord uses the security.

Therefore, this does not give a tenant any right “to live out their security.”

If a landlord agrees to use the security toward any outstanding rent, the tenant is still obligated to replenish the security used.


Last Review and Update: Aug 06, 2020

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