What documents or proof do I need to give to my landlord to get out of my lease if I am a sexual assault victim?
If you are a tenant who is requesting an early lease termination, you must provide “reasonable documentation” of being a sexual assault victim.1 This means that you must provide all of the following:
- a written letter that says:
- you are a victim of sexual assault;
- you are seeking an early lease termination;
- you will not knowingly allow the sexual assault offender to enter the home; and
- you will otherwise meet all of the requirements under the lease agreement;2
- a sexual assault protective order or a certification of sexual assault signed by a qualified third party that proves that the sexual assault took place in Louisiana within the past 60 days;3 and
- if the sexual assault happened somewhere other than the rented home, a statement explaining why staying in the home would pose a threat to your safety.1
1 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.2(B)(2)
2 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.2(B)
3 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.2(A)(3), (B)(2)
Who is a “qualified third party”?
For the purposes of completing a certification of sexual assault, a “qualified third party” is:
- a program director of a sexual assault center;
- a sexual assault advocate, who must be a licensed clinical social worker or licensed professional counselor;
- any healthcare provider that conducted a forensic medical examination of the sexual assault victim; or
- a prosecuting attorney or investigating law enforcement officer who has personal involvement in the investigation or prosecution of any criminal case related to the sexual assault.1
1 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.2(A)(4)
What is the “certification of sexual assault” for the purposes of requesting a lease termination?
If you do not have a sexual assault protective order, a qualified third party must sign a certification of sexual assault, which should be “substantially the same” as this form provided in the statute1:
(Name of qualified third party and, if applicable, the name of their sexual assault center, office, or agency)
I have suffered sexual assault as defined in La. R.S. 9:3261.2.
Briefly describe the incident giving rise to the claim of sexual assault: [Fill in details of the sexual assault 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))
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 has suffered sexual assault as defined by La. R.S. 9:3261.2, and that the individual informed me of the name of the alleged perpetrator of the actions (if known), 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)
1 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.2(D)
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. § 9:3261.2(C)(1)
2 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.2(C)(2)
3 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.2(C)(1), (C)(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 are expected to move out.1 If the abuser who committed the sexual assault 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.1
1 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.2(C)(3)
What happens if my landlord included a section in my lease saying that I cannot end my lease early?
It would be illegal for your landlord to include a term in your lease that claims to prevent this type of early termination. If the landlord has done so, it would be unenforceable, which means the judge would refuse to follow it.1
1 La. Rev. Stat. § 9:3261.2(E)