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NYC security deposit reforms proposed to protect tenants

EAST HARLEM, MANHATTAN — New York City's comptroller called for caps on security deposits, saying that tenants in the city are spending too much, in a new report Sunday.

Comptroller Scott Stringer found that New York renters sunk approximately $507 million into security deposits in 2016.

“Right now, the landlords are collecting all this money and it’s doing nothing for the tenants,” Stringer told PIX11.

Jeremiah Schlotman, chair of the Housing Committee for Community Board 11 in East Harlem, has heard it all from tenants all over the city: the way renters pay for security deposits is a problem.

“The fees can be exorbitant,” Schlotman told PIX11.

Stringer is proposing New York State immediately introduce legislation that would have a one month cap, much like rent regulated apartments already have. He's also proposed a reduction in upfront costs and expanded tenant choices.

“It’s young people getting their first job, their first apartment, they want to live in this city,” Stringer told PIX11. “But then they have to pay first month, last month, brokers fees, other fees."

And that is probably the toughest part of security deposit reform, getting that security deposit back. Often times tenants have to sue landlords to get their money back, something that the tenant advocate is hoping will change with new laws in place.

“Right now, the onus is on the tenant to sue his landlord to get the security deposit back,” Schlotman told PIX11. “These proposals would make the playing field less unlevel."