An eviction can me an incredibly difficult process for any tenant to experience. Regardless of the reason for the eviction, tenants still have rights that cannot be ignored. In fact, landlords must always abide by relevant state law and the particular provisions in the rental contract that set forth the conditions of a potential eviction.
In Louisiana, there are specific rules and procedures that all tenants must follow when considering an eviction. Here at Smiley Law, we want you to be aware of the following basic rights you have as a tenant in Louisiana:
1. Self-Help Evictions Are Illegal
State law forbids the landlord from taking the law into his own hands. Thus, any “self-help” evictions, such as changing the locks and/or turning off electricity or heat, are strictly illegal.
2. Notice to Vacate
Under Louisiana law, the landlord must prepare a “Notice to Vacate Premises,”which is properly addressed to the tenant. For ordinary yearly leases, this notice must generally be given with at least five days notice to move for expiration of terms, such as non-payment of rent.In addition, this notice may be given for noncompliance with the conditions of the lease, including for causing damage to the property or keeping the property in unsanitary conditions.
Remember: This notice is not a court judgment. It is merely a notice of your landlord’s intention to file a lawsuit for eviction if you do not move out by the end of the notice period.
3. Rule to Evict
Even if the tenant has still not moved out after the expiration of the 5-day notice period, the landlord may still not resort to his own eviction devices. Instead, he/she must file a “Rule to Possession,” asking the court to evict you.
4. Contract Terms
Keep in mind that the terms of your rental agreement, may affect your rights.For example, many residential leases contain a “waiver of notice” condition, which would allow the landlord to immediately file a Rule of Possession to evict the tenant if he/she holds over after the expiration of the lease.
5. Don’t Feel Threatened
No matter what the circumstances may be, your landlord has no legal right to evict you without a court order. If he/she tries to do so before securing court approval, you may call the police.You may also move out of the property or try to negotiate terms with your landlord directly.
If you are facing an eviction or a landlord who needs to evict a tenant, always consult with a lawyer to find out what your options are. Here at Smiley Law, we would be happy to help with all your eviction questions.