Realty Bites

My landlord is keeping my security deposit for water damage. Will apartment insurance reimburse me?

By Austin Havens-Bowen | December 20, 2021 - 9:30AM 

Your apartment insurance policy will not directly reimburse you for the loss of a security deposit, but some types of damage to your apartment may be covered.

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Question:

I moved out and my landlord is keeping part of my security deposit to repair water damage I caused to the bathroom floor. Will my apartment insurance reimburse me?

Answer:

First, a little explanation is in order. After you move out, a security deposit is intended to cover the costs of repairs your landlord makes beyond addressing normal wear and tear. In New York, a landlord has 14 days after you vacate to inspect the apartment and send an itemized statement detailing any necessary repairs plus the remainder of the deposit to be turned over to you.

When it comes to apartment insurance, your policy protects you in many different situations. But it will not directly reimburse you for the loss of a security deposit, says Jeffrey Schneider, president of Gotham Brokerage (a Brick sponsor). 


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Some claims, like accidental water or fire damage, might be covered by your policy, which you could consider an indirect form of reimbursement, Schneider says. These are damages your landlord could withhold your deposit for, but the claim has to be filed before repairs are made. 

You also must submit the claim while your insurance company still has a chance to look at the damage, Schneider says. You can submit photos of the damage with your claim, but if you wait until after you move out, the claim might be denied based on a late report. “Prompt reporting is the goal," he says.

Be aware that many landlords don’t inspect the apartment for damages until after you leave. Arik Lifshitz, CEO of DSA Property Group says that they will only do a walk-through inspection while the tenant is in place if it’s requested. 

Lifshitz says his team would only keep all or part of the security deposit for significant damage like a hole in the wall or a baseball bat-sized dent in the fridge. If you’re concerned that your security deposit might be withheld for any damages, talk to your landlord before you move out. 

So it’s in your best interest to submit any claims to your insurance company when it happens. And if you’re unsure if you’re responsible for the repairs, talk to your landlord before assuming your apartment insurance has you covered.   

 

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