Louisiana Eviction Law

Posted by Christopher Berkompas in Louisiana

Note: I am not a lawyer, and this is not intended as legal advice.

Under what circumstances may a tenant be evicted?

Like in most states, a tenant may be evicted for one of three main reasons, either for failing to pay rent, overstaying a lease, or for significantly violating the terms of the lease.

What is the process for evicting a tenant?

First, the landlord must give the tenant a "Notice to quit", or leave the premises, either in person or through the local sheriff.  This notice must give the tenant at least 5 days to vacate before the landlord can begin eviction proceedings against him.

The landlord will then file a "Rule to Show Cause" with the local court, asking that the tenant be evicted.  The court will then proceed in the following manner: (1) It will serve papers on the tenant, notifying him of the date his case will be tried at court.  (2) The hearing will then be held, after which the decision will be made.  If the tenant does not appear the court will automatically decide for the landlord. The tenant may appeal within 24 hours of the decision. (3) If this appeal does not take place, court officers, usually the sheriff, will forcibly evict the tenant after another 24 hours.


How are landlords supposed to deal with tenant belongings left behind?

The landlord may seize any possessions the tenant leaves behind after an eviction, and is not obligated to return them until back rent and storage fees are paid.  If the tenant does not reclaim them, the landlord may later sell them.

Can the landlord shut off utilities or lock a tenant out prior to the completion of the eviction process?

A landlord may only seek to evict a tenant through the court.  Locking a tenant out and annoying him with utility shut-offs is therefore illegal.  Utilities may be shut off, however, if it is necessary for the landlord to complete a needed repair in good faith.

Are landlords required to let tenants know why they are being evicted?

Louisiana law requires that the landlord include the reason for the eviction in the notice to quit he gives the tenant at the start of the process.

Is it legal for the landlord to deduct legal fees and court costs from the security deposit?

A security deposit may only be applied to back rent or any damages to the premises caused by the tenant.

Can the landlord try to collect unpaid rent for the rest of the time left in the lease?

The landlord must file a separate suit for the back rent, and must seek to obtain it through the court or as a condition for returning the tenant's goods.  He may not try to collect it in any other way.


  1. Summary of Louisiana eviction procedures
  2. Louisiana Landlord-Tenant Law
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