Dial Dalfred: Renter’s Rights

LEONVILLE, La. (KLFY) – During these hot summer days, it’s almost unimaginable what someone would do without air conditioning inside their home.

But that’s exactly what one Saint Landry Parish resident is going through after a dispute with her landlord.

56-year-old Elizabeth Mallet lives in a small apartment complex in Leonville. When she moved in back in May, she thought she was getting a good deal; nearly three months later, she’s beginning to think she made a mistake.

Mallet says she refused to pay rent in June and July because her landlord refuses to make necessary repairs in her apartment.

“I asked him to come and fix the oven. I told him about the flooding” Mallet says, adding that after a hard rain water comes in both the front and the back door, Mallet notes how it is wet and rotten from the water.

Mallet notes how the back door is wet and rotten from the water.

The final straw was on July 5th when Mallet realized her air conditioner wasn’t working.

“You can’t even cook in there because the heat is going to kill you! It’s 102 [heat index] outside and in there it’s about 110!” Mallet says.

After speaking with another neighbor, who Mallet who says is also withholding rent, she says the landlord came and removed the breakers for the A/C unit, forcing the tenants to rely on ceiling and box fans for cooling.

According to the Attorney General Landlord and Tenant Laws, it’s the obligation of both the landlord and tenant to follow the terms of the lease agreement.

Mallet argues that she never signed a lease; her landlord only needed $500 down.

The Attorney General guidelines also read “repair requests should be made in writing'”, which Mallet failed to do.

Page 18 of the guidelines say if tenants pay for repairs, the cost may be deducted from the rent (during my research I was unable to find laws stating a renter has rights to withhold the entire amount of rent for living conditions detrimental to tenant health).

During research on this story, we were unable to find laws stating a renter has rights to withhold the entire amount of rent for living conditions detrimental to tenant health.

If there’s an ongoing issue in your neighborhood or community, or you have questions that need answers, Dial Dalfred at 262-0868.

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