Security Deposit Sample Demand Letter + Info about Sec. Deposit suit
I vacated your property at [address] on [date]. I am requesting the return of my security deposit in the amount of [$]. You can send my deposit to:
Your forwarding address
Please note that if you do not return my deposit and/or a detailed accounting of any deductions within 30 days of this letter, I may be entitled to my deposit plus a statutory penalty of twice the amount wrongfully withheld, court costs, and attorney’s fees, under La. R.S. § 9:3251 and § 9:3252. If I am forced to go to court to get my deposit back I will ask for the statutory penalty.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
How to get your security deposit back in New Orleans
1. When you move out make sure you clean your apartment and leave it in good condition minus normal wear and tear. Take time stamped photos of the cleaned out unit including the inside of the fridge, oven, closets, bathtub, etc. Make sure you turn in your key to your landlord.
2. After you move out send your landlord a letter asking for your deposit back and providing a forwarding address where the deposit can be sent.
3. If your landlord fails to respond with your deposit and/or a detailed accounting of any deductions within 30 days, you may be entitled to your deposit plus a penalty of twice your deposit, costs, and attorney’s fees.
4. If your landlord does not respond or you disagree with your landlord’s response, you can file a lawsuit in small claims court. On the east bank small claims court is at 421 Loyola Ave. on the second floor (First City Court). On the west bank it is at 225 Morgan St. (Second City Court).
5. At court, go to the clerk’s office and ask for a small claims petition. The clerk should give you a form to fill out where you list the amount of your claim and an explanation. It costs $114 to file a small claims petition, plus additional money to serve the petition through the constable’s office. However, if you are low income you do not have to pay those costs up front. Ask for an “in forma pauperis” application. The application asks for information about your income and expenses. Another adult who knows you but is not in your household must sign the form verifying that you are low income. A notary needs to notarize the form. You also need to attach proof of your income.
6. After you file, the constable will serve the petition on your landlord. You can also serve the petition yourself by certified mail, but there are special rules if you do so. Those rules are outlined in La. R.S. § 13:5204.
7. You need a good address to serve your landlord at. You can look up your landlord’s address on the New Orleans assessor’s website if you don’t have it. www.nolaassessor.com.
8. After your landlord is served, he has 10 days to file an answer with the court. Your landlord can also file a counterclaim if he believes you owe him money. You must be served with a copy of the answer.
9. After the answer is filed the case can be set for trial. At trial you will present your case first. You should show the judge:
a. Proof that you paid a deposit
b. Pictures of how you left your apartment
c. Anything else you think is relevant to your case
10. The rules of evidence are relaxed in small claims court, but you should act professional and at all times be respectful toward the judge. Never interrupt the judge and be sure to truthfully answer the questions she asks you.
11. After you present your case, your landlord has an opportunity to present his evidence. If the landlord does not show up, the judge will automatically issue a judgment in your favor.
12. After both sides present their cases, the judge will issue her ruling.