What You Need To Know About Eviction in Louisiana

Renters From Natchitoches to New Orleans need to know about Louisiana eviction law and their rights as tenants.
Written by Shannon Martin
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Depending on how the lease is written,
landlords can give tenants a written or verbal notice to vacate. While no eviction can happen without a court's ruling, the eviction laws lean heavily in the landlord's favor. Therefore, knowing your rights as a tenant is your best protection if you face eviction. 
When you think of Louisiana, you think of good food, good times, and good people. The cost of living in the Pelican State is about 10% less than in the rest of the country. Still, due to challenging economic changes and a decreased job market, the cost of rent has risen faster than what most tenants can keep up with. 
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Louisiana eviction 101: the three ways you can be evicted

Landlords can only evict a tenant mid-term for a legal cause in Louisiana. However, the cause a landlord can site is much broader than in other states. Evictions fall into three categories: 
  • Non-payment: Rent is considered late one day after the due date
  • Lease violation: A violation can be something serious like illegal activity, to nuisance complaints, or even more simple violations like not mowing the grass if that is what you agreed to in your lease
  • Owner possession: If the owner wants to take over the property themselves or have someone else move in, they need to wait until the lease is up
No matter the reason for eviction, they all start with the same form, the Notice to Vacate (sometimes referred to as Notice to Quit). Most vacate notices are written 5-day notices, but if the lease has a waiver to notice, the landlord can inform the tenant verbally.
If the tenant remains in the home after the Notice to Vacate the landlord will file for a Rule for Possession (Rule to Evict). A third party must deliver the Rule for Possession, usually by a sheriff, and it may be handed to someone at the residence or posted on the door. 
If the rental is on the Eastbank, (Orleans Parish, Jefferson Parish, or St. Bernard Parish) tenants will also get a copy in the mail. The notice will include the date, time, location of the trial, and reason for eviction. 
Key Takeaway In Louisiana, landlords can evict tenants mid-term for any activity that violates an agreement in the lease. If they don't have a legal cause for eviction, they must wait until the lease is up and non-renew it. 

A timeline of eviction in Louisiana

So you received a Notice to Vacation and you know you can't leave in the next five days... now what? Depending on the eviction, you may only have 10 days before the sheriff is at your door. The average eviction procedure in Louisiana can take up to 40 days
Here is what the timeline can look like:
How long it typically takes
What to expect
Written notice from landlord
5-30 days depending on the notice
This notice can be delivered as soon as the rent is late and it states the date the tenant needs to move out.
Rule for Possession
Two 2 days before the court hearing can be scheduled
This notice can be delivered to the tenant or posted on the door. In some parishes, a copy will also be mailed.
Tenant response
Before the trial date
If the tenant does not respond, the judge sides in favor of the landlord.
No sooner than three days
The judge will hear the case; if the tenant responds and loses, they may have to pay for the landlord's attorney fees and the eviction will be listed on their credit report. Tenants that have moved before the court date will have the eviction waived.
Hours to a few days
The Writ of Possession will be issued to the tenant almost immediately and the tenant will have 24 hours to vacate. If they are still on the premise when the time is up, the tenants will be forcibly removed by the sheriff.
Return of Rental Property
24 hours
The guidelines of remaining personal property left by the tenant are not specific. Essentially the property belongs to the landlord and they may put valuable or sentimental items aside for tenants to collect within 30 days. However, they are not legally obligated to do so.
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Landlords can not evict tenants on their own by doing things like shutting off utilities or changing the locks. Actions like this are called self-help evictions and they are illegal. Given how much power landlords hold in Louisiana, if a tenant wants to say on their home, they should try to work things out with the landlord as soon as they can. 

How to resist eviction in Louisiana

Evictions in Louisiana are attached to tenant's credit reports and can hinder future housing opportunities. If you are in this situation and feel that the eviction is justified, you should move right away and still go to court for the hearing. Advise the judge that you have already moved and they will waive the eviction, which will save your credit score. 
Here are some tips on how to resist evictions:
  • Speak to the landlord before the process goes any further: Since evictions in Louisiana happen so fast, talk to your landlord and try to work something out. Will they let you pay past due rent in installments? Can you fix any violations that they have cited you for? 
  • Find a loophole: If eviction paperwork wasn't filed correctly or if the landlord broke agreements in the lease, you can use this in court. Once the landlord corrects anything they have missed, the eviction can continue of the landlord's wishes. 
  • Call out discrimination: If you feel that discrimination has played a role in your eviction, say so in court, as it is illegal in Louisiana. Be sure to keep any documentation or communications that would help prove it. 
If you feel that the eviction is unlawful, go to court and fight it. Keep in mind that if you lose, the eviction will go on your credit report and you may be responsible for the landlord's court and attorney fees

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