Legal Information: Louisiana

Housing Laws

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August 27, 2021

What proof do I need to give to my landlord to get out of my lease if I am a domestic abuse victim?

If you are a tenant who is requesting an early lease termination, you must provide “reasonable documentation” that you or your family or household member is a domestic abuse victim. This means you must provide both of the following:

  1. a written letter that says:
    1. you or your family or household member is a victim of domestic abuse;
    2. you want an early lease termination;
    3. you and your household members will not knowingly allow the abuser to enter your home again; and
    4. you will meet all of the other requirements under the lease agreement;1 and
  2. proof that the domestic abuse happened within the past 30 days in the rented home, in the form of either:
    1. a domestic abuse protective order; or
    2. a certification of domestic abuse signed by a qualified third party. 2

If requested by the landlord, you must provide the name and address of the abuser as well.3

1 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.1(E)
2 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.1(B)(7), (E)(2)
3 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.1(E)(5)

Who is a “qualified third party”?

For the purposes of completing a certification of domestic abuse, a “qualified third party” means the executive director, program director, or another employee of a community-based shelter contracted with the Department of Children and Family Services.1 This person must be a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) or have a master’s degree in social work (MSW).1

1 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.1(B)(6)

What is the “certification of domestic abuse” for the purposes of requesting a lease termination?

If you do not have a domestic abuse protective order, you and a qualified third party must sign a certification of domestic abuse in a form that is “substantially the same” as this form provided in the statute:1

(Name of qualified third party and, if applicable, the name of their shelter, office or agency)

I and/or my (family or household member) have suffered domestic abuse as defined in R.S. 9:3261.1.

Briefly describe the incident giving rise to the claim of domestic abuse:
[Fill in details of the domestic abuse here]

The incident(s) that I rely on in support of this declaration occurred on the following date(s) and time(s): ________ and at the following location(s): ________.

The incident(s) that I rely on in support of this declaration was/were committed by the following person(s), if known: ________.

I state under penalty of perjury under the laws of the state of Louisiana that the foregoing is true and correct. By submitting this statement I do not waive any legally recognized privilege protecting any communications that I may have with the agency or representative whose name appears below or with any other person or entity. I understand that my obligation to pay rent does not end until the early termination date of my lease as decided by the lessor or until I vacate the premises upon receiving agreement by the lessor to terminate my obligations under the lease early. I understand that my lessor may keep my security deposit or other amounts as permitted under law.

Dated at __________, Louisiana, __________ this day of ___ 20___.

(Signature of Tenant (Lessee) or Tenant’s (Lessee’s) family or household member)

PRINTED NAME [Your name goes here]

I verify under penalty of perjury under the laws of the state of Louisiana that I have provided services to the person whose signature appears above and that, based on information communicated to me by the person whose signature appears above, the individual or his or her family or household member has suffered domestic abuse as defined by R.S. 9:3261.1, and that the individual informed me of the name of the alleged perpetrator of the actions, giving rise to the claim, if known. This verification does not waive any legally recognized privilege that I, my agency, or any of its representatives have with the person whose signature appears above.

Dated this ________ of __________, 20___.

(Signature of qualified third party)

PRINTED NAME [The qualified third party’s name goes here]

(License number or organizational tax identification number)

(Organization name)

(Printed address)

1 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.1(H)

Once I notify my landlord that I want to end my lease, how soon do I have to move out? Do I still have to pay rent?

When you have followed the steps laid out above to request an early lease termination, the lease agreement will end within 30 days of when you make the request on a date agreed-upon by you and the landlord.1 You will be responsible for rent through that termination date, as well as any prior rent already owed to the landlord.2 These amounts must be paid on or before the date you move out or additional future rent may be owed as well.3

You will not lose your security deposit just because you are ending your lease. The landlord is only allowed to withhold the security deposit for the specific reasons under Louisiana’s housing law that would be available upon the normal termination of a lease, such as if you damaged the property.2

1 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.1(F)(1)
2 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.1(F)(2)
3 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.1(F)(1), (F)(2)

If I get my lease terminated, how will this affect my roommates?

If there are multiple roommates on a lease agreement and one of them requests early termination, the entire lease will end and all roommates will be expected to move out.1 If the abuser who committed the domestic abuse is one of the roommates named on the lease, the landlord may also immediately evict that abuser by presenting documentation of the abuse to the court. 2

1 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.1(F)(3)
2 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.1(F)(2)

What happens if my landlord does not follow this law?

If you are denied an early termination after following the steps laid out above, you may file a lawsuit (civil action) against your landlord in state district court within one year of the denial.1 If you did not provide the required documentation of the domestic abuse to your landlord prior to the denial, however, you will not be able to win a case against your landlord for violation of this law.2 A landlord who has not been given the required documentation will similarly not be prevented from refusing to enter into a lease, terminating your lease, failing to renew your lease, or evicting you for any otherwise acceptable legal reason.3 If the landlord has already filed for an eviction against you due to a single incident of domestic abuse and you provide the appropriate documentation of the abuse prior to a judgment or notice of eviction being issued, the landlord is required to withdraw that judgment or notice once your documentation is provided.4

If you or your household member knowingly allow the abuser into your home after requesting the lease termination, you lose your protection under this law. Therefore, you will not be able to file a civil action against your landlord for failure to follow this law if the landlord evicts you or refuses to end your lease.5 The landlord will also still have the right to evict you if the abuser remains near or in the rented home against your will and this results in additional violent disturbances that pose a threat to the safety or peace of other nearby tenants.6 In this situation, the landlord may allow you to relocate to another unit that they own, if one is available and you meet the qualification standards to rent that unit, but this is solely at the landlord’s discretion and is not required under the law.6

Note: It is important to understand that landlords are still allowed to evict domestic abuse victims, terminate their lease, or refuse to enter into or renew a lease for other legal reasons that are unrelated to the domestic abuse. 7

1 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.1(I)
2 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.1(D)(2)
3 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.1(D)(3)(a)
4 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.1(D)(3)(b)
5 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.1(K)
6 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.1(D)(1)(b)
7 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.1(G)

What happens if my landlord included a section in my lease saying that I cannot do something that is protected by this law?

It would be illegal for your landlord to include a term in your lease that fines you or limits your right to call law enforcement or any other emergency assistance for an emergency or incident of domestic abuse at your home.1

1 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.1(C)

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