Landlords and Tenants in Louisiana- Many leases require that requests for repairs be made in writing. Regardless, all requests should be made in writing and/or in the presence of witnesses. Tenants are strongly advised to keep a record of all maintenance problems, repairs and failures to repair.
The landlord must maintain the property by making all necessary repairs. The tenant is responsible for the damages caused by his fault, the fault of his guests, and those exceeding normal wear and tear.
If the repair cannot be postponed until the end of the lease, then the tenant must allow the landlord to make these repairs, even if they are an inconvenience. However, a reduction in rent may be possible.
If the landlord refuses to maintain the property or to make necessary repairs after being notified, the tenant has several options:
•The tenant can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section.
•If there is a structural or hazardous defect, then the tenant can complain to the local building officials.
•If a serious problem is ignored, then the tenant may terminate the lease. Terminating the lease requires substantial proof of the landlord’s failure to perform his/her obligations. Terminating a lease without sufficient cause will result in serious financial and legal consequences. Therefore, the tenant should seek legal advice before terminating a lease due to improper maintenance.
• Louisiana law allows tenants to pay for “necessary” repairs and to deduct the repair cost from the rent due or demand immediate reimbursement from the landlord. In order to deduct repair costs, tenants must be able to prove each of the following:
A) The repairs were necessary.
B) The landlord failed to act within a reasonable time after being notified.
C) The price paid was reasonable.
The tenant should keep copies of estimates, letters, receipts and other documents which support his/her case.
Source: Louisiana landlord and tenant guide.