Section 7-103 of the General Obligations Law provides, in pertinent part, that:
1. Whenever money shall be deposited or advanced on a contract or license agreement for the use or rental of real property as security for performance of the contract or agreement or to be applied to payments upon such contract or agreement when due, such money, with interest accruing thereon, if any, until repaid or so applied, shall continue to be the money of the person making such deposit or advance and shall be held in trust by the person with whom such deposit or advance shall be made and shall not be mingled with the personal moneys or become an asset of the person receiving the same.
In the recent case of 23 E. 39th ST. MGT. v. 23 E. 39th ST. DEVS., 2011 NY Slip Op 31684 – NY: Supreme Court 2011, the landlord failed to place a $400k security deposit in a segregated interest bearing account. The court found this to be conversion and ordered that the landlord return to the tenant, $115,944.19, the amount sought in the complaint, with interest at the statutory rate from October 9, 2007.
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