Louisiana Landlord Tenant Law

Looking for clear and concise information on Louisiana landlord tenant law? Get all your answers from this plain English guide to Louisiana landlord tenant statutes.

The Louisiana Landlord and Tenant Act covers three types of leases: residential, agricultural and mining. [LA CC 2671]

Tenant Application

Application Fees

The landlord can ask prospective tenants for application fees to cover the costs of background and credit checks. The fee amount should be reasonable - We recommend charging $25 to $30 per applicant. If the landlord did not run any tenant screening checks, the fees should be refunded.

Background and Credit Check

Before running background or credit checks on tenant applicants, landlords must first obtain the applicant's written permission. [Fair Credit Reporting Act Sec.604(a)(3)(F)]

For landlords to run background and credit checks, the tenant application form needs to ask for the applicant's:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • social security number or ITIN (individual taxpayer identification number)
  • current address
  • signed consent (e.g. "I authorize the use of the information and contacts provided to complete a credit, reference, and/or background check.")

Avoiding Discrimination

The federal Fair Housing Act disallows landlords from rejecting prospective renters based on their race, color, religion, nationality, sex, *familial status or physical/mental disability. *Familial status means landlords cannot reject someone for having one or more children under 18. Familial status also includes pregnant women and people planning to have (or adapt) children under 18.

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Tenancy Agreement

A tenancy agreement (also known as a lease agreement or rental agreement) can be written or verbal. [LA CC 2681]

The landlord and tenant can choose between a month to month tenancy or fixed term lease. A month to month tenancy is more flexible - The landlord or tenant is free to change the terms of the rental agreement at the end of every month. A fixed term lease typically spans from 3 to 24 months. The landlord and tenant are NOT allowed to change the terms of the lease agreement during the lease duration... unless there is written consent from both parties.

If the landlord and tenant did not agree on the tenancy duration, then a residential lease shall be month to month by default while an agricultural lease shall be year to year by default. [LA CC 2680]

Required for Tenancy Agreement

Louisiana landlord tenant law requires all tenancy agreements to contain the following details:

  • Disclosure and information of lead-based paint in the property (for housing built before 1978)

Recommended for Tenancy Agreement

  • Name and address of tenant(s)
  • Number of people (occupants) staying on the property
  • Type of tenancy: month to month tenancy or fixed term lease
  • How much is the rent
  • When, how and where the rent is to be paid
  • When is rent is considered late and the penalties for late rent payment
  • How much is the security deposit and pet deposit (if any)
  • Who holds the deposit(s) and where will it be held
  • What utilities and services are provided and who pays for them
  • What are the landlord's and tenant's duties for property maintenance
  • Can the tenant sublet the property or assign the lease
  • When to inform the landlord if tenant will be away for a long time
  • Prohibited activities and items

Disallowed for Tenancy Agreement

According to Louisiana landlord tenant law, your lease agreement CANNOT:

  • make the tenant give up any legal rights or remedies under the Louisiana Landlord and Tenant Act [L.R.S. 9:3254]

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Security Deposit

Louisiana landlord tenant law does not limit the maximum amount of security deposit that the landlord can ask (as long as the tenant is agreeable). The deposit amount must be stated in the written rental agreement.

There are no  landlord tenant laws on security deposit holding methods and security deposit interest.

Deductions and Returns

Louisiana landlord tenant law requires the landlord to inform the tenant of the terms and conditions for security deposit deductions.
   
Valid reasons for security deposit deductions (under Louisiana landlord tenant law) include [LA CC 2683]:

  • Rent owed
  • Property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by tenant, occupants or tenant's guests
  • Costs and losses incurred by landlord due to the tenant failing in his or her duties - See Tenant Duties and Responsibilities below

Once the lease terminates and the tenant returns the property, the landlord must send the tenant a list of security deposit deductions and refund any remaining deposit within one month. This list has to individually account for all damages and rent owed in writing. [L.R.S. 9:3251.(a)]

If the tenant abandons the property, the landlord shall keep the full deposit amount. [L.R.S. 9:3251.(c)]

If the landlord fails to follow Louisiana landlord tenant law for deducting and returning security deposit, the tenant can recover actual damages. If actual damages are less than $200, the tenant shall still receive a minimum of $200. [L.R.S. 9:3252]

If Property is Sold

Once the property ownership is transferred, the new owner will be responsible for refunding any security deposit or prepaid rent to the tenant (at the end of the tenancy). [L.R.S. 9:3251.(b)] Therefore the new owner should make sure that the previous owner transfers all security deposits and prepaid rents along with the property.
   
The previous owner is no longer responsible for the tenancy once ALL three conditions are met:

  1. The previous owner makes a proper transfer of all security deposits and prepaid rents to the new owner
  2. The previous owner informs the tenant in writing that the property is being sold
  3. The new owner and tenant enters into a new agreement on the condition and contents of the property

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New Orleans, Louisiana LA

Louisiana Landlord Tenant Law

Rent

The landlord and tenant have to agree on the rent payment method. They can also assign a third party to choose the payment method. [LA CC 2676]

If tenant is paying rent for an agricultural lease with a portion of the crops, then those crops are considered as the landlord's property at all times. [LA CC 2677]

The tenant has to pay the rent without demand or reminders. As long as the landlord and tenant are agreeable, they can choose the time, place and method of rent payment.

By default, rent is payable once the tenancy begins and shall be paid at the start of each term. [LA CC 2703.(1)]. Rent is to be paid to the address given by the landlord. If no address is given, then rent shall be collected at the tenant's address. [LA CC 2703.(2)]

Late Rent

There are no Louisiana landlord tenant statutes on imposing charges for late rent payments.

Raising Rent

There are no specific Louisiana landlord tenant statutes on raising rent.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • When can the landlord raise the rent?
  • How many days notice does the landlord have to give before raising the rent?
  • How many days notice does the tenant have to give if he or she is moving out due to the rent increase?
  • Maximum amount or percentage of rent increase (optional)

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Property Maintenance

The Louisiana Landlord Tenant Act requires the landlord to maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition. It also requires the tenant to keep the property in a clean and safe condition.

Landlord Duties and Responsibilities

The Louisiana Landlord Tenant Act requires the landlord to maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition [LA CC 2682]:

  • Handover: Deliver the property to the tenant on time and in good condition [LA CC 2684]
  • Repairs: Make all repairs to keep the property safe and habitable [LA CC 2691]
  • Maintenance: Maintain the premises in a habitable condition
  • Peaceful Tenancy: Ensure that the tenant has a peaceful tenancy [LA CC 2700]

Tenant Duties and Responsibilities

Louisiana landlord tenant law also requires the tenant to keep the property in a clean and safe condition [LA CC 2683]:

  • Proper Usage: Use all facilities and appliances properly. This includes all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, kitchen and common area facilities (e.g. elevators)
  • Repairs: Repair property damage due to negligence, misuse or abuse by the tenant, occupants or tenant's guests [LA CC 2692]
  • Alterations: Avoid making alterations to the property [LA CC 2690]
  • Handover: Return the property in original (move-in) condition at the end of the tenancy

The tenant has to inform the landlord immediately of the following situations [LA CC 2688]:

  • Property has been damaged
  • Property requires repair
  • Tenant's possession of the property was disturbed by a third party

If Landlord Fails to Maintain Property

After the tenant demands for necessary repairs, the landlord has to make the repairs within a reasonable time.

If the landlord fails to do so, the tenant can make the repairs at the landlord's expense. The tenant can either demand the landlord to pay back the repair costs immediately OR deduct the costs from rent. [LA CC 2694]

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Property Access

There are no Louisiana landlord tenant statutes on when and how the landlord can enter the property.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • When does the landlord require the tenant's permission to enter the property?
    Examples: Making repairs, supplying essential services, inspecting for damages, showing property to prospective buyers or tenants
  • How long in advance should the landlord inform the tenant before entering the property?
  • When is the landlord allowed to enter the property without the tenant's permission?
    Examples: Handling emergencies (such as smoke, fire, flooding or explosion), tenant has abandoned the property
  • What are the penalties if the tenant refuses the landlord's valid request to enter the property?
  • What are the penalties if the landlord enters the property without the tenant's permission or without a valid reason?

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Subletting

Louisiana landlord tenant law allows subletting unless the landlord disagrees to it in writing. [LA CC 2713]

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • Is the tenant allowed to sublet the property? If yes, is the landlord's written consent required before the tenant can sublet?
  • Is the landlord allowed to screen and reject every prospective subtenant?
  • Can the landlord ask for additional rent and security deposit if the tenant sublets?

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Baton Rouge, Louisiana LA

Baton Rouge, Louisiana LA

Termination of Tenancy

Number of Days for Notice to Quit

Louisiana landlord tenant law requires you to give the other party a written notice to quit before terminating a periodic tenancy (e.g week to week, month to month, year to year lease).

You won't have to give a written notice for a fixed term lease as it will terminate once it expires. [LA CC 2720]

For a week to week tenancy, you must give this notice at least five days before the termination date. LA CC 2728.(3)

For a month to month tenancy, you have to give this notice at least 10 days in advance. [LA CC 2728.(2)]

If the rental term is longer than one month (e.g. year to year lease), you must give this notice at least 30 days before the termination date. [LA CC 2728.(1)]

TENANT

Tenant or dependent is a victim of domestic abuse

30 days

Tenant is deployed in the armed forces

30 days

Tenant or Dependent is a Victim of Domestic Abuse

If the tenant or tenant's dependent is a victim of domestic abuse, he or she may terminate the rental agreement early without penalties... IF the tenant is renting a home in a building with at least six dwellings. [L.R.S. 9:3261.1.(A)]

The tenant can terminate the rental agreement by submitting ALL of the following in writing to the landlord [L.R.S. 9:3261.1.(E)]:

  • Tenant or tenant's dependent is a victim of domestic abuse
  • Documents showing that the tenant or tenant's dependent suffered from domestic abuse in the past 30 days
  • Tenant shall not allow the abuser to access the property
  • Tenant shall follow all terms and conditions of the rental agreement
  • Name and address of the abuser (if requested by the landlord)

After the tenant submits all of the above in writing, the rental agreement shall be terminated in 30 days. [L.R.S. 9:3261.1.(F)]

Tenant is Deployed in the Armed Forces

Louisiana landlord tenant law allows service members (or their spouse) to terminate the tenancy agreement if ONE of the following conditions is met [L.R.S. 9:3261]:

  • Service member received orders for a permanent change of station that is 35 miles or more from the rental unit
  • Service member received orders for a temporary change of station that is 35 miles or more from the rental unit for more than three months
  • Service member received orders requiring him or her to move into government quarters after entering into a rental agreement
  • Service member informed the landlord in writing that he or she had a pending request for government quarters when entering into the lease AND government quarters are now available for the service member
  • Service member is discharged, released or retires

The tenant may terminate the rental agreement by giving the landlord a written notice to quit 30 days in advance PLUS a copy of the military orders or written verification signed by the service member's commanding officer.

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Eviction

According to Louisiana landlord tenant law, the following are valid reasons for evicting tenants and the minimum number of days for giving them a notice to quit:

Tenant did not pay rent

5 days

Tenant violated tenancy agreement or didn't perform duties

5 days

Tenant Did Not Pay Rent

If the tenant did not pay rent on time, the landlord can send the tenant a seven day written notice to terminate the tenancy. This notice must state the amount of rent owed and inform the tenant that he or she can choose to pay or move out. [LA CCP 4701]

Tenant Violated Tenancy Agreement or Didn't Perform Duties

If the tenant violates the tenancy agreement in a *significant manner, the landlord can send the tenant a five day written notice to terminate the tenancy. [LA CCP 4701]

*Significant manner refers to situations that affects human health and safety.

Similarly if the tenant fails to perform his or her duties (as required by Louisiana landlord tenant law) in a significant manner, the landlord can also send the tenant a five day written notice to terminate the tenancy.

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Abandonment

There are no specific Louisiana landlord tenant laws on abandonment of property by the tenant.

We recommend that the landlord and tenant work out the following details and include them in the rental agreement:

  • When is the property considered abandoned by the tenant? - Tenant hasn't paid rent for X days, Tenant has been absent from the property for X days (without informing the landlord)
  • After the property is abandoned, does the tenant have to continue paying rent until the landlord finds a new tenant?
  • What will happen to the tenant's abandoned belongings? - Can the landlord dispose or sell them immediately OR does the landlord have to hold it for a period of time?
  • If the landlord is holding the abandoned belongings, how long does the tenant have to claim it back AND does the tenant have to pay the landlord any holding costs?

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Resources

Louisiana Landlord Tenant Law: Basic Landlord Tenant Law

Louisiana Landlord Tenant Handbook: A Guide to Louisiana Landlord and Tenant Laws

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