Know Your Rights: Tenants' Rights during COVID-19 (FAQs)
Can my landlord evict me during the COVID-19 Crisis? +
As of June 15, 2020, evictions can now be processed in Louisiana courts.
HOWEVER, the federal government has also suspended evictions from certain properties with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture until January 31, 2021.
You still legally owe rent for this period of time.
For more information on this, visit our Know Your Rights resource.
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, you should immediately contact an attorney.
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 New Orleans 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 due to COVID-19 right away. If the office is closed, try to email, text, or mail notice to your caseworker or landlord. Keep a copy of your notice for your records. Give notice even if you do not yet have all the documents they might need. Also, report if you start getting unemployment benefits. Your rent should be reduced the first day of the month after you report a loss of income. Even if they cannot 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.
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, 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.