Know Your Rights: Can I be Evicted? (FAQs + Flyer)
Who is protected from eviction and late fees during the COVID-19 Crisis? +
As of June 15, 2020, evictions can now be processed in Louisiana courts.
HOWEVER, Under the federal stimulus law signed on March 27, 2020, there is a 120-day ban (until July 25th) on evictions for nonpayment, and the charging of late fees, for certain tenants:
- Tenants who have a Section 8 voucher
- Tenants who have a US Dept. of Agricultural Rural Development voucher
- Tenants who live in a HUD-subsidized property like Section 8 or public housing
- Tenants who live in a Low Income Housing Tax Credit (“LIHTC” or “tax credit”) property
- Tenants whose landlords have a mortgage backed by the federal government (like an FHA or other HUD mortgage, a VA mortgage, or a U.S. Dept. of Agriculture mortgage), or a mortgage owned by Fannie Mae / Freddie Mac
For these tenants, landlords cannot give you a notice to vacate for nonpayment until after the 120 days. After that they must give you a 30-day notice. If you receive an eviction notice before July 25th and you live in a covered property, you have a right to fight the eviction.
How do I know if my landlord is covered by the 120-day ban? +
If you live in government-subsidized housing, “affordable housing,” or housing where your rent changes based on your income, or if you have a Section 8 voucher, you are likely covered. It is harder to find out if your landlord has a federally-backed mortgage, but about 70% of single-family mortgages have federal involvement. You can try to look up whether your landlord has a mortgage in the public records (free in Orleans at http://www.orleanscivilclerk.com/onlinerecords.html). However, whether their loan is covered by the below programs may not be recorded.
You can use this tool to find out if your home is covered by the eviction ban.
Can the Housing Authority terminate my Section 8 or public housing assistance? +
The following Housing Authorities have said they are suspending Section 8 and public housing terminations during the COVID-19 crisis: Housing Authority of New Orleans, Housing Authority of Jefferson Parish (does not cover Kenner), St. Bernard Parish Dep’t of Housing, and St. Charles Parish Housing Authority. If a delayed hearing, inspection, or contract signing is causing you serious hardship or homelessness, call the Southeast Louisiana Legal Services COVID-19 Hotline at 1-844-244-7871.
What if I can’t afford my rent because I lost income due to the COVID-19 Crisis? +
You should pay your rent on time, or try to work out a payment plan with your landlord. Try to get any payment plan in writing. If your rental agreement says you will be charged fees for paying rent late, the landlord might charge you those fees if you do not pay on time.
If you live in the City of New Orleans, you rent from a private landlord, and you do not have a housing subsidy: You might qualify for rental assistance. Call the City of N.O. Office of Community Development at 504-658-4200.
If you lost income and live in Section 8, public, or other subsidized housing where your rent is based on your income: Report any income loss right away. If the office is closed, try to email, text, or mail notice to your caseworker or landlord. Keep a copy of any notice you sent for your records. Give notice even if you do not yet have all the documents they might need. Your rent should be reduced the first day of the month after you report a loss of income. Even if they are not able process your rent reduction now, timely reporting will affect the amount you owe later once they do process the change. If your landlord or the Housing Authority fails or refuses to reduce your rent, talk to an attorney.
It is very important that if you start getting new income, like unemployment benefits, that you report it and keep a record of reporting it.
What if my landlord locks me out, cuts off my utilities, physically removes my possessions, or threatens to call the police to make me leave? +
It is illegal for your landlord to lock you out, throw your belongings out, or cut off your utilities without going through the court eviction process. Your landlord must get a court order to evict you. If your landlord is trying to physically remove you or your belongings from your home, you can call the police if you feel comfortable. The police should tell your landlord to stop. If your landlord tries to evict you without a court judgment, or to force you out by doing other things, seek the advice of an attorney immediately.
How can I get legal help? +
Acadiana Legal Service Corporation and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services provide free legal assistance to those that qualify - typically at or below 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Please do not visit legal service providers in person during this time. Due to the virus, all organizations are encouraging people to contact them over the telephone, or by applying for services online.
SLLS has a COVID-19 Hotline you can access by calling 844-244-7871.
If you don't qualify for free legal services, you may qualify for the Modest Means Directory. You may also be able to submit a question and get legal advice online through the Louisiana Free Legal Answers program.
If your income is still too high for the Modest Means Directory or Louisiana Free Legal Answers, you'll need to find a private attorney through the Louisiana State Bar Association.