One of the biggest disputes between a tenant and a former landlord is over the return of the tenant’s security deposit. When you first sign a lease, your landlord normally requires that you pay a security deposit. Once you have satisfied the terms of your lease and move out your landlord is supposed to return your security deposit to you if you return the apartment or home to the landlord in the same condition in which you received it, except for normal wear and tear.
You have a right to send a written demand to your landlord and tell them to send your security deposit back to you but you must tell them where to send it. Once you do send that written demand, the clock starts ticking and your landlord has 30 days to either send your security deposit to you at the address you told them to or the landlord has to send you an itemized list of the damages they allege you caused and the reasons they are keeping your security deposit. If the alleged damages do not equal or exceed the amount of your security deposit, your landlord has to send you the remainder of your security deposit.
Sometimes landlords try to charge a former tenant for “repairs” that would be considered normal wear and tear. Other times, landlords simply try to keep the security deposit because they believe a former tenant will not take them to court over a small amount of money. Fortunately Louisiana has laws in place to prevent former landlords from abusing a former tenant by wrongfully keeping a security deposit. Even though a security deposit is sometimes a small amount of money compared to most other legal disputes, Louisiana provides that the winner of a security deposit dispute in court may have to pay the other side’s attorney’s fees and the costs of the lawsuit. This can be a powerful tool to prevent landlords from wrongfully keeping a security deposit.
In any event, if you believe your former landlord is wrongfully holding your security deposit, contact us for a free case evaluation. You can call (504) 324-2807 or submit an inquiry using the form on the right side of this page.