Housing Law Protections For Domestic Abuse Victims

Authored By: Lagniappe Law Lab



The law provides basic protections to domestic violence victims facing housing issues. Examples of these laws include protections that: 

  • Prohibit housing discrimination based on an applicant's or tenant's status as a survivor of domestic violence; 
  • Provide an eviction defense where the landlord tries to evict the victim because the abuser committed a crime or lease violation at the rental property;
  • Bar landlords from limiting a tenant's rights to call for police or emergency assistance; 
  • Require landlords to change locks where tenants have provided documentation of domestic violence; and 
  • Permit early lease termination without further obligation to pay the rent where tenants provide landlords documentation of domestic violence. 

The landlord cannot deny protections to the tenant. It is illegal for the landlord to deny you a lease, end or not renew your lease, or charge you any extra fees.

Domestic abuse victims may end their residential lease early without facing penalties. The landlord may not include any terms in your lease agreement that limit the victim's ability to get police or emergency help after an incident of domestic violence. This type of lease term is not enforceable by a judge. 

Victims may use the Lease Cancellation Request to ask their landlord to end their lease early. 

How To Get Out Of Your Lease If You Are A Domestic Abuse Victim

A tenant who is a domestic violence victim who is asking their landlord to end their lease early must provide "reasonable documentation" that you or your family or household member is a domestic abuse victim or that domestic abuse happened on the leased property. Reasonable documentation means both of the following: 

  • A written letter that says: 
    • You or your family or household member is a victim of domestic abuse
    • You want an early lease termination
    • You and your household members will not knowingly allow the abuser to enter your home again; and
    • You meet all of the other requirements under the lease agreement; and 
  • Proof that the domestic abuse happened within the past 30 days in the rental property. This proof may be a domestic abuse restraining order or a certification of domestic abuse signed by a qualified third party. 

You must also provide the name and address of the abuser to the landlord if asked. 

You must give proof of domestic violence to the landlord in a timely way under the law. The applicant, lessee, or any household member of an applicant or lessee who is or was the victim of domestic violence must give their landlord reasonable documentation of the abuse. A victim may give this to the landlord on or before the date of the lease application, lease termination, lease nonrenewal, or before the judgment or order of eviction. 


A domestic violence victim may ask a landlord to get out of a lease early but must include proof. The proof that domestic violence happened within the past 30 days in the rental home includes either: 

  • A domestic violence restraining order; or 
  • A certification of domestic abuse signed by a qualified third party. 


If you do not have a restraining order, then you and a qualified third party must sign a certification of domestic abuse in a form that is “substantially the same” as this form provided in the statute. You can use the Lease Cancellation Request form to ask your landlord to end your lease early. 

You must request to ask your landlord to end your lease early. The lease agreement ends on a date agreed upon by you and your landlord but within 30 days. You must pay rent through that termination date. You must also pay any prior rent owed to the landlord. These amounts must get paid on or before the date you move out. You may need to pay any future rent owed as well.

You do not lose your security deposit because you are ending your lease. The landlord can only withhold the security deposit for reasons allowed under Louisiana law. This is for normal reasons allowed such as damaging property.

A landlord can evict an abuser by showing documentation of the domestic violence to the court.

A landlord may also evict a victim who is leasing the property for reasons allowed under the law. 

Under the law, "If the continued presence of the domestic abuser in, or in close proximity to, the lessee's residential dwelling or apartment results in one or more disturbances or altercations and those disturbances or altercations pose a threat to the safety or peaceable possession of the premises by the lessee or other residents, then the lessor may evict the lesser, even if the presence of the domestic abuse offender is uninvited or unwelcome." 

A victim may try to talk to the landlord when there is an issue with the presence of an offender. The landlord may allow the victim to relocate to a different house or apartment if there is another one available. The landlord may not evict a tenant when they provide proof of domestic violence in the form of a restraining order or certification of abuse letter signed by a qualified third party. 

Last Review and Update: Oct 27, 2022
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