Returning Tenant Deposit

1 Reply

Hi friends, 

I bought my first duplex a little over two years ago and now I have my first tenant ever moving out. The issue here is that they painted parts of my kitchen cabinets. The cabinets are factory white, but now I can clearly see the damage and brush strokes. I am assuming they painted them with white paint to try and cover something up. In my opinion they ruined this kitchen. I am not sure what to do here. Also food was left behind and the home was filthy. I paid someone to clean which I would deduct from the deposit.

Need some advice. 


@Nicholas Natale I believe you should be able to deduct the costs it'll take to remedy the cabinets and also the cleaning. I would send them an itemized list of costs that where taken from the deposit. Also for any future tenants you could give them a move out sheet with the cost of items line by line that you'd have to charge them if they don't clean certain things or have missing or broken items. I think there's one on the BP website under tools/forms. 

Also found a pdf online by The Housing Council in Rochester NY that states the following:

 There is no specific time frame for return of a security deposit under New York State Law. A deposit must be returned within a “reasonable” amount of time after a tenant moves out. If you move and more than three to four weeks go by without return of deposit it is probably not “reasonable”.

Most landlord-tenant disputes over deposits arise over the issue of damages versus normal wear and tear. A landlord can deduct from the deposit actual cost of damages including labor costs. If a tenant leaves an apartment unclean the cost of cleaning can be deducted. It is illegal to deduct repairs for normal wear and tear (repair needs or defects not caused by the tenant). You may contact the Attorney General’s Office in Rochester at 546-7430 to file a complaint against your Landlord if there are problems with your security deposit. The best way to protect your security deposit is to do an inspection of the apartment with the landlord when you move in and when you move out. It is wise to use a “condition and inventory checklist” to note exact conditions of the apartment. A sample of such a checklist is available at The Housing Council upon request. If signed by both parties it is binding.

Hope this helps.