If last year I evicted a former tenant who caused about $3,000 in property damage and owes about $3,000 in back rent, can I still sue him or is it too late?

I evicted him a year ago yesterday.

Asked on February 2, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you are still in time to sue. Suits against tenants are considered suits based on breach of contract, since a lease (whether written or oral) is a contract. In your state, the statute of limitations, or time within which to sue, for either oral or written contracts is 10 years, so you are still well within time.
However, a point to consider: it's one thing if he didn't pay because he didn't want to (basically, he's a freeloader or criminal), but had the money to pay; but if he didn't pay because he didn't have the money (e.g. unemployed or only marginally employed; and/or has significant other non-optional expenses, like big medical costs, alimony, or child support), then unless you think his financial situation has drastically improved, there's probably no point to suing--you could sue him (spending time and money on the lawsuit), win, and still be unable to collect, since you can only get paid if he has something to pay you with.


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