Q: Landlord has history of not refunding security deposits with bogus allegations. Could we not pay last month of rent?
We live in Louisiana. We have a 1 year lease that ends November 30th. We were expecting to renew the lease but the landlord sent us a letter Saying we need to move out by December 31st. We want to move dec 1st not at the end of December.The problem we are having is debating whether to not pay the rent for November. The two prior tenants that lived here said he did a similar thing to them and kept all their security deposit, never refunded them a dime. Even though they did pay the last month of rent. We can not afford to not have our deposit back. And from the looks of it, we do not feel confident that he would refund it. We need the money for rent at our new place. The question is, if we leave the property intact and video and record everything, could we fight him in court if he decides to take us if we don’t pay him the last month of rent. He has done this over and over to people, we cannot live without the month of rent money. We are a military family.
A: If your lease ends November 30, you should be out November 30th. You should also pay your November rent in full, but also document the condition of the premises with pictures, video, and a end-of-lease checklist with the lessor, if you can. You can ask now/set a date to do a walk through with the lessor. You can find end-of-lease walk-thru checklists online, if the Lessor does not have one already prepared. If you don't pay rent in advance, you set yourself up for suit/fees and eviction for non payment and further problems with the deposit. Under Louisiana law, if you do not terminate the lease early, you are entitled to your deposit, or an itemization of expenses withheld from the deposit by the lessor within 30 days. If you have good evidence of condition of home, do a walk-thru, etc, you are protecting yourself on the front end. Then, if 30 days pass and Lessor does not reimburse deposit less any justifiable expenses, you can proceed against the lessor and also be entitled to fees and costs. That is the more sound way to proceed and protect your interests.
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