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:
- Get out of your lease early (See La Civ. Code 2013 or 2015)
- Repair and deduct (See La. Civ. Code art. 2694)
- 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.