Ann A. Berry | 7/18/2008 12:45:07 AM
Who is responsible for repairs?
Your landlord must repair the rental premises as quickly as is reasonably possible. You must cooperate with the landlord’s requests, such as removing your property if that is necessary to make repairs, and you must take steps that will assist in the repair efforts.
Must I continue to pay rent during the repair process?
If the place you are renting is damaged to the extent it is unsafe or unfit to live in, you are not required to continue pay rent. You should give the landlord your temporary address.
How do I cancel a lease if my home has been damaged or destroyed?
If your rented home, apartment or business building is destroyed or damaged to the extent it cannot be reasonably repaired, you may be able to cancel a long-term lease. To exercise this option, the following conditions must be met.
You may have other grounds on which to cancel a long-term lease, such as failure of the landlord to repair the premises properly or within a reasonable time. Therefore, a tenant should talk with a lawyer before attempting to cancel a long-term lease to make sure that all conditions are met.
A month-to-month lease can be canceled by written notice given at least ten days before the end of the month. A week-to-week lease can be canceled by written notice given at least two days before the end of the week. A lease on space for a manufactured home can be canceled by giving at least 30 days written notice before the end of the current rental period, regardless of the term. If possible, talk with a lawyer to determine what type of lease you have to ensure that you are giving adequate notice.
Can my rental payments be refunded if my home or building is damaged?
The general rule is that the landlord must provide a fit and habitable place to live or conduct business. If you cannot live in the house or apartment or conduct business in the building, the landlord may be required to return a portion of any rent that has already been paid. If the landlord fails to refund your money, you can take him or her to Small Claims Court.
Who pays the cost to repair or replace my personal property that has been damaged or destroyed?
The landlord is not responsible for the damage or loss of your personal property. If you have renter’s insurance, read the policy, take pictures of the damage, contact your insurance company as soon as possible and closely follow the insurance company’s procedures for filing a claim.
For more information, consumers should visit the Louisiana Attorney General’s Web site at www.ag.state.la.us, and click on “Programs”; then “Consumers”; then “Consumer Notebook Series"; and then “Landlord and Tenant”; or call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-351-4889.
Adapted from materials originally prepared by: Carol A. Schwab, J.D., LL.M., Family Resource Management Specialist, North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service
Ann Berry, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, LSU AgCenter.