Differences in Landlord-Tenant Law in Louisiana
Louisiana landlord-tenant law is different
If you moved to Louisiana from another state, you need to know that Louisiana landlord-tenant law is different from that of other states in many important ways. Many states base their laws on the modern Uniform Residential Landlord-Tenant Act (URLTA). Louisiana has not adopted the URLTA.
Here are some ways Louisiana landlord-tenant law is different:
- You can be evicted after notice of as few as 5 days. Most other states give tenants 30 days' notice. Not Louisiana! If you have a month-to-month lease, in most cases, your landlord can evict you on 10 days' notice. For no reason at all! If you violate your lease agreement, say by not paying rent, this notice period may be as short as five (5) days. Many leases waive this five-day notice, which is legal.
- No partial rent abatement. In some states, tenants owe less rent if the landlord neglects the property. In Louisiana, you generally cannot make your landlord cut your rent (partial rent abatement) for major landlord neglect, such as the failure to maintain the apartment with heat, electricity, and water. Louisiana does permit a tenant to repair major damage and reduce rent, but the process is difficult.
- You owe rent even when the landlord won't make repairs. You cannot simply refuse to pay your rent, even when the landlord has failed to make repairs that are necessary for the apartment to be fit for living. The judge likely will not let you use this issue as a defense to an eviction.
- You can't pay to stay. A tenant does not have the right to delay an eviction judgment by offering to pay for the extra time in the rented property. This is true even where the tenant has a hardship that prevented the tenant from paying the rent.
- It may be harder to prove retaliatory eviction. It may be harder for you under Louisiana law (as opposed to the law of other states) to prove your landlord is trying to evict you to retaliate against you for exercising your legal rights as a tenant. This is especially applicable to month-to-month renters. Remember, the landlord can evict month-to-month renters for no cause with only 10 days' notice.
- You can sue if your landlord locks you out. Louisiana law lets you sue your landlord for damages if your landlord puts you out without bringing an eviction case against you in court. But Louisiana law concerning how much you can collect in damages may not be as generous as in some other states.
- There's no grace period. And no limit on late fees, either. Louisiana law does not give you a grace period to pay your rent. It also does not limit late fees, either. If you agreed to pay late fees in your lease, you can be held responsible for them -- or evicted.
- There's no money awarded in evictions. In Louisiana, neither side can be awarded money in an eviction action. All the judge can do is award possession to you or to your landlord. Your landlord has to sue you in a separate lawsuit to obtain rent owed. You have to sue your landlord in a separate lawsuit to get your security deposit back.