Rights, Regulations, & Landlord Tenant Laws - Louisiana Guide [2023]

Discover everything you need to know about Louisiana’s landlord-tenant laws in this guide covering key topics like eviction, rent, and repairs.

By
Rachel Robinson
|
Last Updated
September 29, 2023
Rights, Regulations, & Landlord Tenant Laws - Louisiana Guide [2023]

Louisiana landlords and tenants, like in other states, must navigate and understand a complex web of local and state rental laws that impact their rights, obligations, and the dynamics of the landlord-tenant relationship. No matter how comprehensive the laws may be, this can be a daunting and overwhelming task.

In an effort to provide clarity on the rental laws of the state, we have crafted this comprehensive guide on Louisiana landlord-tenant laws. Landlords will gain the necessary knowledge to protect their properties and promote positive interactions with their tenants. Concurrently, tenants will become acquainted with the fundamental rights granted to them during a tenancy.

Encompassing vital topics such as tenant screening, security deposits, lease agreements, and eviction procedures, this guide aims to equip both landlords and renters with a deep understanding of the nuances presented by Louisiana's legal framework as stated in the Louisiana Revised Statutes Title XXIII.

Let's get to it!

Is Louisiana considered a landlord-friendly state?

Ranking 26th on this list of landlord-friendly states, Louisiana’s state law seemingly favors landlords over tenants. This is clear in its lack of rent control laws and the ability for landlords to set and increase rental rates, evict tenants, and enter properties whenever they choose. Louisiana is also known for having one of the fastest eviction processes in the country, and landlords can file a lawsuit against tenants who do not pay rent within three days after it’s due without providing written notice beforehand.

Louisiana landlord tenant law fast facts

Louisiana landlord rights and responsibilities

Landlord rights

Louisiana state law provides landlords with specific rights, allowing them to run successful rental businesses safeguarded from legal issues. Some of their main rights include:

  • Collecting rent payments when due
  • Pursuing a legal eviction if the tenant breaches the lease agreement
  • Charging a security deposit to cover unforeseen costs like damage beyond normal wear and tear

Landlord responsibilities

Louisiana rental owners also have certain duties to uphold to guarantee a smooth and safe tenancy for their renters. Their main landlord responsibilities are as follows:

  • Providing tenants with a habitable unit
  • Making necessary repairs in a “timely manner” after receiving notice from a tenant
  • Complying with laws governing security deposits and the eviction procedure

Louisiana tenant rights and responsibilities

Tenant rights

Like landlords in the state, Louisiana tenants are provided fundamental rights that ensure their safety and legal protection during a tenancy. Their key rights are as follows:

  • Living in a safe and habitable rental unit
  • Having repairs made in a “timely manner” after providing the landlord with written notice
  • Using the “repair and deduct” remedy when the landlord fails to make repairs in a reasonable time frame

Tenant responsibilities

Louisiana renters also have their own set of duties to uphold while living in a rental unit. They must:

  • Pay rent on time
  • Keep the unit in a clean and functioning condition, including the plumbing fixtures
  • Not purposefully damage the property
  • Comply with all health and safety housing laws

Louisiana landlord tenant law through the rental cycle

Louisiana tenant screening and rental application laws

Louisiana doesn’t have very many statutes governing the rental application and tenant screening process. For example, the state does not limit how much a landlord can charge for an application or tenant screening fee, and application fees do not have to be refundable even for prospective tenants who were denied. Landlords are free to ask any questions on the rental application but are bound by the federal Fair Housing Act laws.

Additionally, Louisiana landlords can run background checks as long as they have the potential renter’s consent to do so. Background checks can include credit reports, eviction history, and criminal history.

Louisiana lease agreement laws

Louisiana accepts both written and oral lease agreements, but any sort of document that states the landlord's and tenant's rights and responsibilities is acceptable. 

Although Louisiana state law doesn’t require any clauses to be included in rental agreements, it’s important for landlords to add certain information in their lease including the lease term, contact information, and rent payment and security deposit specifics.

Louisiana security deposit laws

Like in other states, Louisiana landlord-tenant law allows rental owners to collect a security deposit to cover potential property damage and other unforeseen costs at the end of a lease. Louisiana doesn’t limit how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit.

Additional security deposit laws Lousiana landlords should know:

  • Receipts are not required for security deposits.
  • Landlords do not have to pay interest on security deposits.
  • Security deposits do not have to be held in a separate bank account.

At the end of a lease, landlords have one month to return a security deposit to the tenant. If they withhold a portion or all of the deposit, they must provide the tenant with an itemized statement covering the amount retained and why. 

Landlords can legally withhold a portion or all of the deposit for reasons including damage other than normal wear and tear, costs due to breaching the lease agreement, and any unpaid rent, utilities, and late fees.

If the landlord fails to return the security deposit on time, tenants can sue for twice the amount wrongfully withheld or $300, whichever is greater, plus small claim court costs and lawyer fees.

Louisiana rent laws

Because Louisiana does not have rent control laws, landlords in the state may charge any amount for rent and increase rent as often as they choose, except during the lease period, unless the lease agreement allows for it.

Unless otherwise agreed upon, rent payments are due at the beginning of each month.

If tenants fail to pay rent on time, landlords do not have to provide a grace period before charging a late fee. There is no maximum for late fees. However, the fee must be reasonable.

It’s important to note that Louisiana renters cannot withhold rent for any reason.

Louisiana repair and maintenance laws

Same as other states, Louisiana landlords must provide a habitable rental property and maintain it throughout the lease, ensuring that it meets basic health and safety requirements. If a landlord violates this requirement, tenants can report the landlord for unsafe living conditions.

After receiving written notice from a tenant, landlords must make repairs within a “reasonable timeframe.” If the landlord fails to do so, renters can sue for costs or file a court order to force the landlord to make the repairs. They can also cancel the rental agreement early or use the “repair and deduct” remedy.

Louisiana notice of entry laws

Louisiana landlords have the right to enter their rental units for reasonable purposes related to the tenancy. Outside of this, Louisiana state law does not cover statutes related to advance notice of entry into a rental property. But, it’s generally a good practice to follow to maintain a healthy landlord-tenant relationship.

The notice can range from 24 hours to two days depending on what is agreed upon in the lease agreement.

Louisiana eviction and lease termination laws

Louisiana permits landlords to evict tenants for certain legal reasons, and depending on the reason, a specific notice period is required. The reasons and notice periods for Louisiana evictions are as follows:

  • Unpaid rent: If a tenant fails to pay rent on time, the landlord may issue a 5-day notice to pay. If the terms are not met after the five-day period, landlords may proceed with the eviction process.
  • Lease violation: For lease violations, landlords are required to issue a 5-day notice to quit. In Louisiana, landlords do not have to wait for tenants to correct the issue before moving forward with the eviction.
  • No lease/end of lease: If tenants holdover or stay past the end of the tenancy, the landlord must provide them a notice to quit. The notice period depends on the length of the lease. Week-to-week leases must provide a 5-day notice to quit and month-to-month leases must provide a 10-day notice to quit. Leases longer than one month require a 30-day notice to quit.

It’s important to note that self-help evictions are illegal in Louisiana. This includes locking a tenant out of the property, removing the tenant’s possessions from the property, or taking the eviction “into their own hands.”

Tenants can also terminate a lease agreement early for the following reasons:

  • Active military duty
  • Landlord harassment
  • Early termination clause
  • Lease violation

Louisiana renters who break their lease early for legal reasons may still be liable for paying the rest of the rent owed for their lease period.

Additional Louisiana landlord tenant laws

On top of covering rental topics like security deposits and evictions, Louisiana law also addresses housing discrimination, retaliation, and more. Explore some of these matters below.

Housing discrimination

Louisiana has laws in place to protect tenants from housing discrimination. The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. Landlords cannot discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities. If a landlord violates these laws, tenants can seek legal help and file a complaint with the appropriate authorities.

Retaliation

Unlike most other states, Louisiana does not have laws preventing landlords from retaliating against tenants for taking protected actions like reporting the landlord for safety and health violations. However, the state does recognize retaliation as a potential defense when a landlord attempts to evict a tenant. This means that if a tenant believes their landlord has retaliated against them for taking a protected action, they may be able to defend themselves against an eviction by arguing that the landlord's actions were retaliatory.

Mandatory disclosures

The only disclosure Louisiana landlord-tenant law requires landlords to provide tenants before starting the lease period is a lead-based paint disclosure. This only applies to landlords with rental properties built before 1978.

Summing up: Understanding Louisiana’s landlord tenant laws

Lousiana’s landlord-tenant laws are meant to protect both parties' rights and duties, ensuring the rental process is fair and equal. At their root, they help landlords and tenants create a harmonious relationship that leads to good outcomes for both.

For landlords in Louisiana, understanding and adhering to these laws protects their rental business and fosters positive interactions with tenants. On the other hand, these laws help tenants understand their part in maintaining a rental and how to protect themselves from legal issues.

Both renters and landlords should do their due diligence to grasp Louisiana’s rental laws as they stand now, but also as they evolve and change into the future.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials are for general informational purposes only. This content may not constitute the most up-to-date legal information. No reader, user, or browser of this article should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information herein without first seeking the advice of a legal professional.

Rachel Robinson

Rachel Robinson has 6 years of experience in writing, editing, and SEO, specializing in rental property and real estate. She excels in market trends and landlord-tenant dynamics, producing content that drives traffic and informs. Outside of work, she enjoys climbing Colorado's granite boulders.

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