|Return Deadline||1 Month|
|Penalty for Late Return||2x Amount Due + Court Costs + Attorneys’ Fees|
For laws on security deposit collections and holdings in Louisiana, click here.
Security Deposit Deductions in Louisiana
In Louisiana, the following things can be deducted from security deposits:
- Unpaid rent, utilities, and late fees
- Costs of damage excluding normal wear and tear
- Costs due to a breach of the lease agreement
Most states, such as Louisiana, do not have a legal limit on how much a landlord can charge for damages except that the charges must be reasonable.
If the cost of the damages exceeds the amount of the security deposit, landlords are entitled to seek additional damages from the former tenant.
What is Considered Normal Wear & Tear vs Damage in Louisiana?
Normal wear and tear is damage that is expected when a rental unit is used in a normal way, such as gently worn carpets and faded walls. Damage is the destruction caused by abusive or negligent use of a rental unit, like ripped carpets and heavily stained walls.
“Normal wear and tear” is deterioration that occurs naturally as a result of the tenant using the property as it was designed to be used.
- Gently worn carpets
- Lightly scratched glass
- Faded paint and flooring
- Lightly dirtied grout
- Loose door handles
- Stained bath fixtures
“Damage” means destruction to the rental unit that occurs because of abuse or negligence by a tenant during the course of the tenancy.
- Heavily stained, burned, or torn carpets
- Broken tiles or windows
- Holes in the wall
- Missing fixtures
Can the Landlord Charge for Replacing the Carpet in Louisiana?
Yes, landlords can charge for replacing the carpet if it is damaged beyond normal wear and tear.
Some wear and tear on a rental unit’s carpet is expected after normal day-to-day use of the property. For example, carpets typically become discolored, indented, or gently worn, when used in a normal way. However, non-typical, abusive use of carpet results in rips, visible stains, or burns. Landlords have the right to charge the tenant for the replacement of the carpet in areas where serious damage has occurred.
Can the Landlord Charge for Nail Holes in Louisiana?
Yes, landlords can charge a tenant for nail holes if they damage the walls in a way that is not a result of ordinary enjoyment of the rental unit.
Tenants have the right to use the walls within their unit in a reasonable way. This includes inserting small nails or thumbtacks to hang posters or pictures. However, large holes from drilling, multiple nail holes, large nail holes, and holes made for hanging heavier things may be considered damage and thus, chargeable to the tenant.
Can the Landlord Charge a Cleaning Fee in Louisiana?
Landlords can make deductions from the security deposit for cleaning if the tenant causes damage that requires cleaning (e.g. wine stains on the carpet). Landlords can also make deductions for returning the rental unit to its condition at the start of the tenancy if the tenant leaves without cleaning.
Can the Landlord Charge for Painting in Louisiana?
Yes, in Louisiana, landlords can charge for painting, except for normal wear and tear. For example, if the tenant:
- Causes damage beyond normal wear and tear
- Repaints the wall but is not permitted to do so under the lease agreement
- Repaints the wall in an unprofessional way
Normal wear includes minor scrapes from daily use, fading due to sunlight, or minor cracks in the original paint. Landlords can charge for repainting if the damage is not the result of normal use. This includes stains, large or deep scratches, and water damage.
Can a Security Deposit Be Used for Last Month’s Rent in Louisiana?
Louisiana law does not forbid the security deposit from being used for any outstanding rent.
Landlords can include a provision in the lease agreement that the security deposit cannot be used for the last month’s rent until the tenant vacates the rental unit.
Security Deposit Returns in Louisiana
Landlords must return any remaining portion of a security deposit within one month after the termination of the lease. If deductions are to be made from the security deposit, an itemized statement of deductions must be provided.
How Long Do Landlords Have to Return Security Deposits in Louisiana?
Louisiana landlords have one month after the termination of the lease to return any remaining portion of the security deposit.
Do Landlords Owe Interest on Security Deposits in Louisiana?
Louisiana law does not require landlords to provide interest on held security deposits.
How Do Landlords Give Notice / What Information Do They Have to Provide in Louisiana?
If deductions are to be made from the security deposit, an itemized statement of deductions must be sent to the tenant’s forwarding address.
Security Deposit Disputes in Louisiana
If landlords do not return the security deposit or provide an itemized statement of deductions, if any, within the required time period, tenants can file for the return of the security deposit and damages in court up to two times the amount wrongfully withheld or $300, whichever is greater, plus court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.
However, a tenant cannot claim damages, court costs, and attorneys’ fees unless they make a written demand and the security deposit is still not returned after 30 days. Tenants can make the request when providing a forwarding address or after the landlord’s failure to return the security deposit.
Tenants can also take legal action against a landlord for unreasonable deductions.
How Can Tenants File a Dispute for a Security Deposit in Louisiana?
If a landlord fails to perform their obligations regarding a security deposit, the tenant can file a dispute in Small Claims Court.In Louisiana, tenants can file a case in Small Claims Court if the amount disputed is less than $5,000. If the amount is greater, the tenant must file a civil case in City Court or Parish Court.
Some Small Claims Courts in Louisiana do not allow plaintiffs to claim statutory penalties (like double damages). If the tenant believes the landlord willfully failed to return the security deposit and wants to claim the extra penalty, the claim must be filed as a civil case, rather than a small claim.
A small claims case regarding the return of a security deposit must be filed within one year.
Cases are filed in the Small Claims Court where the rental property is located or where the defendant lives or does business. An attorney is not required but permitted.
Our website provides more information about the process of filing a dispute in Small Claims Court.
- 1 LA Rev Stat § 9:3251
…the landlord or lessor may retain all or any portion of the advance or deposit which is reasonably necessary to remedy a default of the tenant or to remedy unreasonable wear to the premises.Source Link
- 2 LA Rev Stat § 9:3251
…the landlord or lessor may retain all or any portion of the advance or deposit which is reasonably necessary…Source Link
- 3 LA Rev Stat § 9:3251
Any advance or deposit…shall be returned to the tenant or lessee of residential or dwelling premises within one month after the lease shall terminate…Source Link
- 4 LA Rev Stat § 9:3251
If any portion of an advance or deposit is retained by a landlord or lessor, he shall forward to the tenant or lessee…an itemized statement accounting for the proceeds which are retained and giving the reasons therefor.Source Link
- 5 LA Rev Stat § 9:3251
The tenant shall furnish the lessor a forwarding address at the termination of the lease, to which such statements may be sent.Source Link
- 6 LA Rev Stat § 9:3252
The willful failure to comply…shall give the tenant or lessee the right to recover any portion of the security deposit wrongfully retained and three hundred dollars or twice the amount of the portion of the security deposit wrongfully retained, whichever is greater…Source Link
- 7 LA Rev Stat § 9:3253
…the court may in its discretion award costs and attorney’s fees to the prevailing party.Source Link
- 8 LA Rev Stat § 9:3252
Failure to remit within thirty days after written demand for a refund shall constitute willful failure.Source Link
- 9 LA Rev Stat § 13:5202
A small claims division…shall have civil subject matter jurisdiction in cases where the amount in dispute does not exceed five thousand dollars, exclusive of interest, court costs, attorney fees, or penalties…Source Link
- 10 LA Code Civ. Art. 3492
Delictual actions are subject to a liberative prescription of one year.Source Link