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Hurricane Ida Information

Authored By: Lagniappe Law Lab

Hurricane Ida Impacts

On August 29, 2021, Hurricane Ida made landfall as a Category 4 storm in Southeast Louisiana. Disaster recovery efforts and related legal issues are expected for months to come.

  • In times of uncertainty, information is critical. Inform yourself using reliable sources. Always double-check information found on social media. This page will be updated with resources from state and federal governments as they relate to Hurricane IDA.

Legal issues are extremely common following a natural disaster.

Sometimes, you may not even recognize an issue as being a legal one. 

Immediately After a Disaster

  • Landlord Tenant Issues
  • Applying for government benefits
  • Applying for loans
  • Getting covered by insurance
  • Replacing lost documents
  • Wage theft

1-6 Months After a Disaster

  • Appealing FEMA denials
  • Renewing rent subsidies or other government benefits
  • Evictions and repair questions
  • Proving homeownership and "clearing" property title
  • Disputing insurance claim coverage amounts
  • Contractor scams and disputes
  • Powers of attorney for childcare or the elderly
  • Modifying parenting orders to reflect new home and school locations
  • Estate planning

6 Months to Years After a Disaster

  • Home loan foreclosures
  • Bankruptcy
  • Defending against FEMA "recoupment" (when they ask for assistance back)
  • Applying for disaster tax relief
  • Disputes about home elevation or significant home damage for permitting
  • Housing repair and mold issues

Getting Legal Help

Information and Resources Related to Hurricane Ida in Louisiana

  • Louisiana Disaster Legal Tip Line: Text "Subscribe" to 318-405-4185
  • SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
  • The Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH) is the first national hotline dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling. This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text 'TalkWithUs' to 66746) to residents in the U.S. and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or man-made disasters.
  • Red Cross: 1-800-REDCROSS
  • HurricaneRecovery.la.gov
  • United Policyholders (UP) is a national non-profit 501(c)(3) consumer advocacy group that specializes in helping disaster victims with insurance claim issues. UP also trains case managers and legal aid lawyers to assist clients with insurance and recovery matters. For help with flood, wind, hurricane, and auto insurance questions.
  • ABA Disaster Legal Services Program: Through the Disaster Legal Services Program, the ABA Young Lawyers Division (ABA-YLD) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provide immediate temporary legal assistance to disaster survivors at no charge. Please visit their page here for other disaster recovery resources.
  • FloodProof App: Proving you own your home is necessary to qualify for FEMA, SBA loans, or other disaster rebuilding funds. The Flood Proof app helps users get their documents and information in order and connects those that qualify with free legal help.

Disaster Relief Consumer Protection Including: Insurance Claims, Scams, Consumer Protections and Rights, Checklist of what to do after a disaster.

Storm-Related Property Damage

Homeowners Insurance Policies 

  • Homeowners insurance policies do not cover most flooding. You need separate flood insurance policy to protect your home and belongings against flood damage. 

Flood Insurance

  • Even if your home has been flooded before you can buy flood insurance. However, there may be a 30-day delay before flooding is covered. See your insurance agent for details. 

Federal Disaster Assistance & Flood Damage 

  • You may be eligible for federal disaster assistance if your home is in a federally declared disaster area. 

Information and Resources Related to Housing and Renters

FAQ for Renters by Southeast Louisiana Legal Services

Unfortunately, yes, you likely still owe rent. When you cannot use your home because of an “Act of God” or other event outside of your control like a hurricane, you may be able to get out of your lease (see below), but you cannot get a reduction of rent. See Louisiana Civil Code article 2715: “If the impairment of the use of the leased thing was caused by circumstances external to the leased thing, the lessee is entitled to a dissolution of the lease, but is not entitled to diminution of the rent.” 

No. Your landlord must go to court to evict you, and cannot force you to leave for any reason without an eviction judgment from the judge.

  • If you are evacuated you should let your landlord know that you are temporarily out of town due to the storm and have not abandoned the premises or moved out permanently. The best way to do this is in writing via text message or email so you can prove you notified them. If your landlord tries to call you, you should pick up the phone and let them know where you are. The law only allows a landlord to take possession of a unit without going to court if the property is abandoned. Typically this means that the property is empty of furnishings, no one appears to be living there for an extended period of time, and the keys are left or returned. See La. Code Civ. P. art. 4731(B). However after Katrina some landlords took advantage of this provision to claim that their tenant had "abandoned" the premises when they were just evacuated and illegally removed their belongings. So it is important to protect yourself by putting your landlord on written notice that you have not moved out and plan to return.
  • Your landlord may be liable for damages if they evict you without going through the court process.

You should notify your landlord immediately in writing (text or email is fine) of any storm-related damage that needs to be repaired. You should also take and send pictures if you can.

Your landlord has a legal obligation to make necessary repairs to keep your home liveable under Louisiana Civil Code art. 2691, unless your lease says you are responsible. Some repair delays may be outside your landlord’s control because contractors may be booked and unavailable for a period of time. If your landlord refuses to make repairs that they have the power to make to keep your home liveable, you have three possible options:

  1. Get out of your lease early (See La Civ. Code 2013 or 2015)
  2. Repair and deduct (See La. Civ. Code art. 2694)
  3. Sue for damages (you will likely need a private attorney as legal aid cannot assist with this)

To “repair and deduct’ you must give your landlord written notice of the need for necessary repairs. If your landlord fails to make the necessary repairs in a reasonable amount of time, you can make the repairs yourself or hire someone to. Then, save the receipt and deduct it from your next month’s rent. Be sure to pay on time with a money order and attach a copy of the receipt. If your landlord refuses to accept the payment, keep the money order to show the judge if your landlord tries to evict you. If you do this correctly, your landlord should not be able to evict you for nonpayment of rent.

In some circumstances you may be entitled to a reduction of rent if your use of a home is “substantially impaired” by your landlord’s failure to make necessary repairs. See La. Civ. Code art. 2715. At least one court has said you must either come to an agreement with your landlord about the amount of reduction or sue in court for a reduction.

  • Yes, your landlord is allowed to displace you from your home if repairs cannot wait until the end of your lease. Louisiana Civil Code 2693 says:
  • If during the lease the thing requires a repair that cannot be postponed until the end of the lease, the lessor has the right to make that repair even if this causes the lessee to suffer inconvenience or loss of use of the thing.
  • In such a case, the lessee may obtain a reduction or abatement of the rent, or a dissolution of the lease, depending on all of the circumstances, including each party's fault or responsibility for the repair, the length of the repair period, and the extent of the loss of use.
  • The landlord is not required to put you up in a hotel or pay for alternate accommodations if you are displaced temporarily due to necessary repairs. You can argue under this code article that you should not owe rent for the period of time you are displaced, or at least that you are owed a reduced rent.*
  • *Check your lease, because if your lease says something different than the law, your lease will control here. 
  • If your lease is expired it automatically renews as a month-to-month lease under Louisiana law, except if your lease says something different. Unless you live in certain types of government-funded housing, like Low Income Housing Tax Credit housing or public housing, your landlord does not need a reason to evict you at the end of your lease. They can evict you with 10 days’ written notice at the end of a month-to-month lease, or 30 days’ written notice at the end of a year lease (unless your lease says more notice is required). This does not mean your landlord can just put you out.  Your landlord still has to file an eviction in court if you do not move and cannot physically put you out without an eviction judgment and a “warrant for possession” from a court.
  • Click here for more information about the Louisiana eviction process.
  • If your home is totally destroyed, your landlord may be allowed to take you to court to evict you once courts reopen. Under Louisiana Civil Code article 2714: “If the leased thing is lost or totally destroyed, without the fault of either party, or if it is expropriated, the lease terminates and neither party owes damages to the other.”*
  • If your home is only partially destroyed, for example there is a leak or broken window but it is still liveable, or if it is just temporarily unlivable because of the lack of electricity, your landlord does not have a legal right to evict you. Under Louisiana Civil Code 2715: “If the impairment of the use of the leased thing was caused by circumstances external to the leased thing, the lessee is entitled to a dissolution of the lease.” In other words, YOU have a right to consider your lease dissolved or terminated, but the law does not give your landlord that option.*
  • *Check your lease, because if your lease says something different than the law your lease will control here. Some leases have a “force majeure” clause that explains what happens when there is a hurricane or other natural disaster.
  • A wrongful eviction is where your landlord changes the locks, cuts off your utilities, or removes your possessions from the property without going through the legal (court) eviction process. 
  • If your landlord is at your home threatening to, or is in the process of wrongfully evicting you and you feel comfortable doing so, you can call law enforcement and they should stop your landlord. You know your local law enforcement better than we do, and know whether this is a safe and wise option for you.
  • If you are in New Orleans you may be able to obtain assistance from the New Orleans Renter’s Rights Assembly’s emergency hotline at (504) 539-4504. (Please note that most groups have limited capacity at this time due to lack of power and evacuations).

Depending on your income you may be able to access free legal assistance. 

  • Southeast Louisiana (Southeast Louisiana Legal Services) - (504) 529-1000 x. 223 or slls.org (press 1 before the extension if you do not get through- messages can be left in any language).
  • Northern and western Louisiana (Acadiana Legal Services Corporation) -  (800)-256-1175 or la-law.org
  • If your home is not liveable due to the hurricane, you may be entitled to get out of your lease early.
  • Under Louisiana Civil Code 2715: “If the impairment of the use of the leased thing was caused by circumstances external to the leased thing, the lessee is entitled to a dissolution of the lease...” The impairment must be “substantial.”
  • If you plan to terminate your lease early, you should notify your landlord in writing. Be sure to turn in the key or notify your landlord in writing where you left it. Take good pictures of the unit and document in writing why it was unliveable. If your landlord sues you later for breaking your lease, or reports a debt on your credit, contact a lawyer.
  • Once your lease has ended and you have completely vacated the unit your landlord has 30 days to either return your deposit or provide something in writing to you explaining why they are keeping it. If your unit was destroyed because of a hurricane or other Act of God you are able to get your deposit back. Your landlord can still deduct amounts from the security deposit for damage caused by you or your guests or for fees or rent that are still owed. When you move out you should take pictures of the unit. You should also try and document that you returned the keys (text message or email is acceptable). You need to provide your landlord with a forwarding address (it does not have to be your actual address, just a place you can receive mail). After the 30 day period you can sue your landlord in small claims court for your deposit. You should also send your landlord a written demand letter as soon as you move out asking for the deposit back. If your landlord does not respond to your written demand within 30 days of receiving the letter, you may be entitled to three times your deposit amount.
  • You can find more information about the security deposit process here.

First and Second City Court in New Orleans are closed due to lack of power until at least September 19, 2021. Certain Jefferson Parish courts are closed due to lack of power until at least September 6, 2021. This may get extended depending on when power is restored. Other parishes that do not have power likely do not have open courts.

You can check the Supreme Court website or your local court’s website for updates. Due to lack of power some websites may not be immediately updated.

Last Review and Update: Dec 10, 2021
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