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Old 06-29-2013, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,814 posts, read 30,165,844 times
Reputation: 38405

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Louisiana doesn't have any law against the LL asking a higher rent of incoming tenants.

Louisiana doesn't require LL's to find another tenant to finish out your lease term.

However, if he does put another tenant in there, he can't charge you rent for the same time he's collecting rent from someone else.

From my research, it looks like he can keep your security deposit, too, as your lease states. The "Lessee's Deposit Act" states that you have to have fulfilled the obligations of your lease, for it to apply to you. So, I deduce then, that he can keep it if you break the lease.

Louisiana isn't real tenant-friendly, unfortunately.

I got the above info from these sites. The first one, you will need to use your search feature to find Louisiana law. Since Louisiana isn't clear on it's laws, there's a lot of case law to wade through:

http://dirt.umkc.edu/files/mitigationsurvey.htm

These guys may be a resource for you. At the bottom of the page is their contact phone number:

TULAP - Tulane Legal Assistance Program

Here's the Louisiana Landlord-Tenant Guide from the Attorney General:

http://www.ag.state.la.us/Shared/Vie...Type=3&Doc=220

It looks like your best bet is to try to negotiate a deal with him. Otherwise, see if there's anyone who can let you know if/when he rents to someone else, as at least then, your obligation ends.
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Old 06-29-2013, 04:50 PM
 
16,376 posts, read 21,397,002 times
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^^

More reason to discuss with an attorney who would know LA laws well.

Just because the landlord puts something in the lease, it isn't always legal. Sometimes the landlord keeps an old clause that has been changed per state law and is no longer valid. In some cases the state law trumps what is in the lease so that term is considered invalid.

Same thing with the issue within the lease that says security deposit is paid as liquidated damages. Maybe they clause is good enough to override the tenant paying any rent after paying the deposit ...which almost seems like an early termination fee to me, based on the wording in the lease.

bottom line, it's hard to interpret what is valid in the lease and what is binding in the lease...based on what is written in the lease and compared against LA state law.

I have hope that an attorney will give this renter some good news.

OP..please report back status. Wishing you good luck on this matter.

Last edited by sware2cod; 06-29-2013 at 05:13 PM..
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:11 AM
 
Location: In the city
1,581 posts, read 3,699,003 times
Reputation: 2415
Here is an update:

I consulted with an attorney who said there are two options:

1. Try to come up with an agreement to break the lease that both of us can live with;
2. Leave and let him try to pursue it in court. Legally, he doesn't have much traction as many "auto renewal" leases have been ruled unenforceable.

The attorney did say that even if I prevail, the court proceedings are a matter of public record and may be reported to a credit bureau. I can fight to get them removed, of course. The cost of all of this (attorney, fees, travel, aggravation) will also likely outpace a month of rent.

So he wrote a letter and drew up an agreement that said I would give the LL two months UNLESS the place rented before September. He also added a clause that stated the landlord would do nothing to impede the renting of the apartment or make unreasonable demands of a potential new tenant. He stated that the LL is within his rights to charge whatever he wants if someone new signs a lease, and that my lease is terminated (worst case) at the end of September. He also put a clause in there that the landlord can't "double dip" and if the place is rented to someone new, I am not responsible for paying as well.

Fast forward a few weeks. As a courtesy, I put an ad up in Craigslist. I offered to pay for August as an incentive to new tenants. I have now showed the place to dozens of people (40 or so). Several have applied. The landlord has made an excuse about most. One is a freelance photographer with a great rental history and credit. The LL refuses to consider her because she is a freelancer. Another is a huge jerk, with no steady work history (ironically, he is also a freelancer, but he works in film and has a job on an upcoming movie in New Orleans.) He showed the LL a paystub that said he made 62K already this year, so the LL is enchanted. The guy is waffling on whether or not he wants the place (he is NOT going to take it, he is just stringing the LL along. He showed up with some girl trying to impress her and keeps coming over to "look at where I want to put my furniture" but has not signed an agreement despite the fact that he says he needs a place by next week.) Other decent candidates have applied. The LL is not interested in anyone but this film guy because he thinks he will be making 120K.

I am about at my wits end. I am in the process of packing and can't constantly keep showing the place, esp if the LL is not going to take anyone seriously. My prediction is that as soon as I leave, he will rent it and try to collect rent from both myself and the new tenant for September. And I will have no proof and pay another month for no reason. Which I guess is my option right now.

Last edited by confusedasusual; 07-18-2013 at 09:36 AM..
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:43 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
33,081 posts, read 77,621,120 times
Reputation: 41369
Quote:
Originally Posted by confusedasusual View Post
I consulted with an attorney who said there are two options:

1. Try to come up with an agreement...
2. Leave (with the sturm und drang well documented) and let him try to pursue it in court...
I vote for #2.

Thanks for coming back with the update (too few bother).
Best of all to you in your new home.
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,814 posts, read 30,165,844 times
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Agreed. Document all of your efforts to rent the place.

I hope he does rent to the loser actor, LOL! He deserves him.
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Simmering in DFW
6,951 posts, read 21,868,265 times
Reputation: 7268
Thanks for the update. Sorry for you and also all reasonable LL's just abhor this kind of behavior because so many of us really do try to recognize that our business is just about as personal as it can be to our clients......and to be in this business a LL should respect the human side at all times.
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:04 AM
 
936 posts, read 2,117,992 times
Reputation: 938
Usually, the LL would be forced to have to accept a tenant under the same terms that you were qualified under. I'd hang onto to those rental apps in case you get sued. But you'd also have to be able to prove that they were credit worthy and otherwise qualified as to the same terms that you were subject to.

What about subleasing the unit? That way, you collect from the new tenant and pay the LL directly. If they decide not to pay then you would still have to come up with the money to pay the LL.
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Old 07-18-2013, 01:14 PM
 
16,376 posts, read 21,397,002 times
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Did the landlord sign the agreement that your attorney put together? If so, this is great news because you won't have to pay beyond September (worse case scenario).
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Old 07-18-2013, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,787 posts, read 46,862,456 times
Reputation: 9466
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
Louisiana doesn't have any law against the LL asking a higher rent of incoming tenants.

Louisiana doesn't require LL's to find another tenant to finish out your lease term.

However, if he does put another tenant in there, he can't charge you rent for the same time he's collecting rent from someone else.

From my research, it looks like he can keep your security deposit, too, as your lease states. The "Lessee's Deposit Act" states that you have to have fulfilled the obligations of your lease, for it to apply to you. So, I deduce then, that he can keep it if you break the lease.

Louisiana isn't real tenant-friendly, unfortunately.

I got the above info from these sites. The first one, you will need to use your search feature to find Louisiana law. Since Louisiana isn't clear on it's laws, there's a lot of case law to wade through:

http://dirt.umkc.edu/files/mitigationsurvey.htm

These guys may be a resource for you. At the bottom of the page is their contact phone number:

TULAP - Tulane Legal Assistance Program

Here's the Louisiana Landlord-Tenant Guide from the Attorney General:

http://www.ag.state.la.us/Shared/Vie...Type=3&Doc=220

It looks like your best bet is to try to negotiate a deal with him. Otherwise, see if there's anyone who can let you know if/when he rents to someone else, as at least then, your obligation ends.

Good information in that post. I added some of it to the State Laws sticky.

To the OP, it sounds like you have no choice but to break the lease and try to minimize the damages. I agree that subleasing is a less desirable option but might be better then paying out the term of the lease. It appears that it would be in your interest to formally request permission to sublease to the qualified tenants that you have found. The landlord may deny it, but if the landlord refuses, that would seem to weaken his right to charge you for rent after you break the lease. i.e. you did everything you could to get a new tenant in the place.

When you move out you should carefully clean the place and take numerous photos to document its condition, including obtaining a witness that you left it in immaculate condition.

Document your offers to pay two months rent in exchange for terminating the lease, certified mail. Document in a letter to the landlord that you understand he is trying to raise the rent above market rates in regard to any new tenants, objecting to it that he is trying to profit unreasonably from your need to end the lease. All of that adds to your proof that you tried to handle this in a responsible manner, which could aide your case if you do end up in court. Proof that the landlord did not make a reasonable effort to find a new tenant.
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:25 PM
 
Location: In the city
1,581 posts, read 3,699,003 times
Reputation: 2415
Quote:
Originally Posted by sware2cod View Post
Did the landlord sign the agreement that your attorney put together? If so, this is great news because you won't have to pay beyond September (worse case scenario).

Yes, he signed it. This assures him rent for two more months from me and double rent in September if he approves someone after I leave. Which is what I am sure he is planning to do.

But here is MY plan. If he refuses to lease the place, I am going to keep copies of my keys until September and let him know that I plan to come back and use the space when I am in town. It is, after all, still legally mine if he refuses to rent it to anyone else. And I do have plans to visit New Orleans again, certainly. One well timed phone call saying-- "guess what-- I am at the airport and just wanted to let you know I am going to be staying at my apartment over the weekend" should make him 'fess up pretty fast.
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