Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Louisiana

No Refund of Security Deposit on False Grounds

We moved out-of-state from a rental house in Louisiana. The lessor is attempting to keep my $600 security deposit based on false grounds. They did not provide upkeep as required by the lease and contantly tried to make me sign a higher lease whenever they did repairs or when property taxes went up. This lady had her husband install a window unit air conditioner in the upstairs bedroom. It was installed incorrectly and leaked into the wall and flooring (actually cracked the wall wide open). She is now claiming that our pets (yes, covered by the lease agreement)urinated so much in that corner of the room (where the air conditioner is) as to damage the rug, pad and subflooring (they were never in that room, ever!). Do I have any recourse from this far away?

Asked on 11/29/01, 7:20 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Richard Lemmler, Jr. R.P. Lemmler, Jr., Attorney At Law

Re: No Refund of Security Deposit on False Grounds

Do you have any pictures or other evidence (i.e., carpet cleaning bills, wall repair estimates, etc.) to show the water damage to the wall and floor was caused by the leaking A/C rather than your pets? Do you have any witnesses--other than yourself and spouse (?)--who saw the damage and the leaking A/C in action who would actually testify to that? Was the damage there before/at the time you first moved in? Would a previous tenant have seen the same problem? Did you have a pre-move-in checklist to sign where you made notes of pre-existing problems with the premises (some good landlords provide such devices to their tenants--protects both parties)? Have you requested return of your deposit in writing (certified mail, return receipt)?

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Answered on 11/29/01, 10:35 am

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