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  1. #1
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    May 2013
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    Default Tenant Broke Lease Early, Do We Have to Return Security Deposit

    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Louisiana

    My husband and I have one rental property. We rented it to a couple in February and they signed a year long lease.

    They called us in late April to say they were moving out of state and would like to break their lease. They said that since they understood they were breaking the lease, they were fine with us keeping the security deposit.

    We were able to find a person to move in the day after they vacated so we didn't lose rent money, but we were still planning on keeping the security deposit due to the trouble of finding a new tenant so soon. Today they called to ask about getting their security deposit back.

    Are we legally required to return it to them. I found that in the Louisiana Lessee's Deposit Law it states that landlord "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." Is breaking the lease early a default of the tenant? It also states that the paragraph mentioning that the lease needs to be returned "shall not apply when the tenant abandons the premises, either without giving notice as required or prior to the termination of the lease."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Tenant Broke Lease Early, Do We Have to Return Security Deposit

    Did they confirm in writing that they were giving up their security deposit if you released them from the lease? If not, do they agree that they made that agreement?

    It seems reasonable to infer that the answers to those questions are "no" and "no", in which case, what did they say when you reminded them of that agreement?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    16,417

    Default Re: Tenant Broke Lease Early, Do We Have to Return Security Deposit

    Quote Quoting kbanks55
    View Post
    My question involves landlord-tenant law in the State of: Louisiana

    My husband and I have one rental property. We rented it to a couple in February and they signed a year long lease.

    They called us in late April to say they were moving out of state and would like to break their lease. They said that since they understood they were breaking the lease, they were fine with us keeping the security deposit.

    We were able to find a person to move in the day after they vacated so we didn't lose rent money, but we were still planning on keeping the security deposit due to the trouble of finding a new tenant so soon. Today they called to ask about getting their security deposit back.

    Are we legally required to return it to them. I found that in the Louisiana Lessee's Deposit Law it states that landlord "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." Is breaking the lease early a default of the tenant? It also states that the paragraph mentioning that the lease needs to be returned "shall not apply when the tenant abandons the premises, either without giving notice as required or prior to the termination of the lease."
    You stated that a new tenant moved in the day after they vacated. That clearly indicates you suffered no loss in rental income, and pretty much indicates that there were no damages either. So what "default" or "damage" do you need remedied?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    1,988

    Default Re: Tenant Broke Lease Early, Do We Have to Return Security Deposit

    you say due to the "trouble" of finding a tenant.

    if you did not incur any expenses you need to return the entire deposit to the tenants and do so promptly.

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