Eviction Notices for Nonpayment of Rent in Louisiana

Louisiana landlords can evict tenants who pay rent late. Here's how.

One of the most common reasons for eviction is a tenant's failure to pay rent. This article explains the steps Louisiana landlords must take to evict tenants who fail to pay rent.

When Rent Is Due in Louisiana

Rent is always due on the first day of every month, unless the lease says otherwise. It does not matter if the first of the month is a weekend or holiday; rent is due on that day. Louisiana landlords are not required to give the tenant a grace period before charging a late fee or taking steps toward eviction.

However, the landlord and the tenant can agree to different terms within the lease. For example, the landlord could agree not to charge a late fee for three days after rent is due. Whatever the agreement, it must be in writing and be part of the lease. The landlord and the tenant are both required to follow the terms of the lease.

Five-Day Notice to Vacate

When a tenant fails to pay rent when it is due, a Louisiana landlord can give the tenant a five-day notice to vacate. This is the first step toward eviction. The five-day notice must state that the tenant has five days to move out of the rental unit or the landlord will file an eviction lawsuit. The five days does not include weekends or holidays. The landlord is not required to accept rent payments after giving the tenant this five-day notice. This means that even if the tenant pays rent in full after receiving the five-day notice to vacate, the landlord can still proceed with the eviction. (La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 4701.)

The New Orleans Bar Association provides a sample five-day notice online.

Information Included in Louisiana's Five-Day Notice to Vacate

A five-day notice to vacate must be in writing and include the following information:

  • date the notice was served on the tenant(s)
  • name(s) and address of tenant(s)
  • a statement that the reason for the notice is that the tenant failed to pay rent and the tenant must move out of the rental unit in five days or the landlord will file an eviction lawsuit with the court, and
  • a certificate of service specifying how the notice was given to the tenant.

Because paying rent after receiving a notice does not put a stop to the eviction procedure, the notice does not need to include the amount of rent due and owing. However, the landlord might want to include this information as it will likely be needed for the eviction lawsuit.

Giving the Notice to the Tenant

It is best for the landlord, or the landlord's agent, to give the five-day notice to vacate directly to the tenant. However, when a landlord cannot find the tenant, the landlord can post the notice to the front door of the rental unit. (La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 4703.)

Going to Eviction Court in Louisiana

When the tenant does not move out of the rental unit within the five-day period, the landlord can file a petition with the justice of the peace for the county in which the rental unit is located. This will begin the eviction lawsuit with the court. The court will set a date and time for a hearing before a judge, and the tenant will be notified of the eviction. If the judge decides the eviction should occur, the tenant will have 24 hours to move out of the rental unit. If the tenant does not move out within 24 hours, the judge will issue a warrant for possession, which is a court order authorizing the local sheriff or constable to perform the eviction against the tenant. (La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 4731 through 4734.)

The only legal way to evict a tenant is by going to court and receiving permission from a judge. The landlord cannot try to evict a tenant through any other means, such as changing the locks on the doors or shutting off the utilities to the rental unit. This type of action is often referred to as a "self-help" eviction, and any tenant who has been the subject of a landlord's self-help has the right to sue the landlord for an illegal eviction.

Additional Resources for Landlord-Tenant Relations in Louisiana

The City of Shreveport provides information on evictions through its website, along with sample forms. Legal aid organizations, such as Southeast Louisiana Legal Services can also provide information about landlord-tenant matters.

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