A Lafayette Landlord's Guide to Security Deposits

A Lafayette Landlord's Guide to Security Deposits

Since the average Louisiana landlord makes over $71,000 annually, renting out your Lafayette property is a great way to make money. Contending with security deposits is the first step toward success. Read on to learn all about Louisiana security deposit laws and how they impact you.

What Are Security Deposits?

A security deposit is a predetermined sum of money that a renter gives to their new landlord before moving into a property. This deposit isn't intended to be income for the landlord. Instead, it's a promise that the renter will take care of the property and follow all the terms set in the lease.

A security deposit must be stored while the tenant lives in the unit. At the end of their lease, the landlord will need to return it assuming that the tenant hasn't damaged anything. If the unit is damaged beyond regular wear and tear, the landlord can deduct the funds from the deposit for repairs.

How Much Can Landlords Charge?

There are no limits to how high a security deposit can be in Louisiana. However, it's important to charge something reasonable so your property can remain competitive.

One or two months' rent is generally considered a reasonable deposit. This will give the landlord enough money to repair any damage if it happens. It also is proof that the tenant has enough money to actually afford rent.

Landlords can also charge a small security deposit for allowing a pet in the unit. This reduces the fear of potential pet-related damage since you'll always have enough to repair it.

Louisiana Security Deposit Laws

While there's no security deposit cap in the Pelican State, there are laws regarding returning security deposits.

If the tenant has not caused damage, landlords have a deadline of one month to return the money. Landlords who return it after a month post-lease-termination are subject to a penalty. They owe the tenant two times the initial deposit and must also pay applicable attorney and court fees.

If the tenant causes damage and the landlord withholds any of the deposit, they must present a comprehensive list of itemized deductions.

Acceptable Deductions in Lafayette, Louisiana

Not everything qualifies as an acceptable deduction that landlords can take money from the security deposit for. This is because some things qualify as normal wear and tear. You cannot refuse to return a security deposit because of:

  • Lightly scratched glass or plastic
  • Faded paint/flooring
  • Gently worn carpeting or scuffed hardwood
  • Loose door handles
  • Bath fixture staining

There are other examples, but these are some common ones.

So, what are acceptable deductions for Louisiana security deposits? Some common ones are:

  • Holes in the wall
  • Missing home fixtures or appliances
  • Burned carpets and floors
  • Heavy staining and tearing on flooring, especially carpets
  • Broken tiles and windows

Landlords can also deduct unpaid rent, utilities, and late fees from the deposit.

Get Professional Lafayette, Louisiana Property Management

Now that you know the ins and outs of Lafayette security deposits, it's time to begin working with property managers who collect and manage deposits. PMI Integrity Properties is committed to working with Louisiana landlords to make your job a breeze. Get a free rental analysis to learn how much passive income your property can generate.