Keeping Security Deposits Safe in Apartments for Rent in Manhattan is vital to stretching your valuable dollars in this ubber expensive city.
As a tenant, you will want to be able to discern between normal wear and tear, versus damage. This could be the fine line between you getting your security deposit back, and how much of it.
Normal wear and tear is usually attributed to short lived items such as carpeting, a furnace, stove, etc. that needs to be replaced due to it reaching the end of its economic life. This should not cause you to lose any part of your security deposit.
In contrast, long-lived items are those that are expected to last for the life of the structure. Any obvious human destruction that falls into this category can cause one to lose their security deposit. For instance, putting a gaping hole in the walls or ceilings, destroying something in the basement foundation, causing damage to the insulation of the home, etc. will most definitely cause you to lose your deposit.
In normal wear and tear cases, the landlord should not be able to keep any part of the deposit. For instance the carpet needs to be replaced after 4 years of tenant occupancy, and the projected life span of this short lived item is approximately 4 years. This would be included in the landlord’s income projection statement, called reserves for replacement, or just reserves. It is where the landlord sets aside a certain amount of money each month to anticipate repairs for new carpeting, a new roof, a new boiler, etc. Setting aside monies for a new wall or ceiling is not part typically part of the reserves.
Here, Manhattan landlords typically take 60 days to return the security deposit to the vacating tenant. Of course there are no hard and fast rules for this, but if you deal directly with the smaller landlord/ owner, chances are you will get that security deposit back much faster.
In order to reduce the risk of damages for a tenant looking to occupy my Manhattan apts, I recommend doing a credit check and asking for specific financial documentation to minimize the chances of getting a non-paying tenant. Manhattan landlords require a 40 times rent to income ratio in order to qualify for the typical 1 month rent, 1 month security. If the applicant does not fulfill these financial requirements, 3-6 months of security will be required (depending on how your credit is); or a guarantor is required, who must make 80 times the rent to income ratio. Some smaller landlords also require a short personal interview and/ or ask for references. These are some ways I would use to protect myself from getting a tenant who could possibly spell trouble.
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