Louisiana Eviction Process

Last Updated: October 22, 2021 by Elizabeth Souza

Timeline. Evicting a tenant in Louisiana can take around two to five weeks, depending on the reason for the eviction and whether the tenant has a written or verbal lease. If tenants file an appeal, the process can take longer (read more).

Introduction. In Louisiana, a landlord must have legal cause to evict a tenant. There are also rules and procedures a landlord must follow for a valid and lawful eviction. Below are the individual steps of the eviction process in Louisiana.

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Step 1: Notice is Posted

The first step in the eviction process is to give the tenant notice for any violation committed. Landlords in Louisiana can begin the eviction process for several reasons, including:

  1. Nonpayment of Rent – Once rent is past due, notice must be served prior to moving forward with the eviction process.
  2. Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement – If a tenant violates a provision of a written lease/rental agreement, the landlord isn’t required to give the tenant the opportunity to correct the issue before moving forward with the eviction process.
  3. No Lease / End of Lease Term (Tenant at Will) – If there is no lease or the term of the lease has ended, the landlord does not need any additional reason to end the tenancy as long as proper notice is given.
NOTES
  • Evicting a Squatter. If the individual occupying the property did not have the permission of the landlord when initially moving in, does not have a lease (or verbal agreement) and has no history of paying rent, then a landlord/tenant relationship may not be established. As a result, the normal eviction process may not be applicable (read more).

Each possible ground for eviction has its own rules for how the process starts.

Eviction Process for Nonpayment of Rent

A landlord is allowed to evict a tenant for failing to pay rent on time.

According to Louisiana law, rent is considered late the day after it’s due; grace periods (if any) are addressed in the lease or rental agreement.

Once rent is past due, the landlord must provide tenants with a 5-Day Notice to Quit if the landlord wants to file an eviction action with the court. This notice gives the tenant five days to move out of the rental unit.

However, for tenants who have a verbal lease, landlords are required to give their tenants 20 days’ written notice.

In Louisiana, landlords are not required to give tenants the option to pay past-due rent in full and avoid eviction.

If the tenant does not move out of the rental unit by the end of the notice period and remains on the property, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

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Eviction Process for Violation of Lease Terms / Rental Agreement

A tenant can be evicted in Louisiana if they do not uphold their obligations and responsibilities under the terms of a written lease or rental agreement.

Louisiana landlords are not required to allow tenants to correct a lease violation in these instances, but they must provide tenants with a 5-Day Notice to Quit, giving the tenant five days to move out of the rental unit.

Typical lease violations under this category could include having too many people reside at the rental unit without the landlord’s knowledge, negligently or deliberately damaging the rental property, and having a pet when there’s a no-pet policy.

Illegal activity may be included in this category.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

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Eviction Process for No Lease / End of Lease

In the state of Louisiana, if tenants “holdover,” or stay in the rental unit after the rental term has expired, then the landlord must give tenants notice before evicting them. This can include tenants without a written lease and week-to-week and month-to-month tenants.

Often this type of eviction applies to tenants who are at the end of their lease and the landlord doesn’t want to renew.

The amount of time required in the notice depends on the type of tenancy.

  • Less Than One Week – If the rental term is less than seven days, notice can be given at any time.
  • At Least One Week But Less Than One Month – If the rental term is for at least a week but less than one month, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 5-Day Notice to Quit.
  • Month-to-Month – If rent is paid on a month-to-month basis, a landlord must provide the tenant with a 10-Day Notice to Quit.
  • Longer Than One Month – If the rental term is longer than one month, landlords must give their tenants a 30-Day Notice to Quit.
  • If There Is No Definite Term on Lease – If no there is no established date of terminate of tenancy, a 5-Day Notice to Quit shall be considered as the official date to vacate the premises.

If the tenant remains on the property after the notice period expires, the landlord may proceed with the eviction process.

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Step 2: Complaint is Filed and Served

As the next step in the eviction process, Louisiana landlords must file a complaint in the appropriate court, and the court will issue a “rule” for possession ordering the tenant appears for a hearing. For example, in Jefferson Parish, the filing fee costs $150 and an additional $225 if a writ of possession is requested.

The Rule for Possession or also known as the Rule to Evict must be served on the tenant by a sheriff or constable at least two days prior to the eviction hearing, through one of the following methods:

  1. Giving a copy to the tenant in person;
  2. Posting a copy on the door of the rental unit; or
  3. Mailing a copy.

Two days. The summons and complaint must be served on the tenant at least two days prior to the eviction hearing.

Step 3: Court Hearing and Judgment

The eviction hearing must be held at least three days after the summons was served on the tenant.

If the tenant fails to appear for the hearing, it will not be continued, and the judge may issue a default judgment in favor of the landlord, meaning the tenant will have to move.

NOTES

Formal Answer. Tenants who file an appeal will still have to move out of the rental unit while the appeal is being decided unless they filed a written answer to the complaint, objecting to the eviction. A written answer is not required for tenants to attend the eviction hearing; only if tenants plan to appeal.

If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, a writ of possession or writ of execution will be issued, and the eviction process will continue.

Low Income. If the tenant is considered to be low-income and cannot afford to pay a filing fee, a form can be brought to the court called “In Forma Pauperis” which asks the court to waive the fee. The tenant shall attach their proof of income. Filing fees for answers are approximately $42.

Three days. The eviction hearing must be held at least three days after the summons is served on the tenant.

Step 4: Writ of Possession Is Issued

The writ of possession or writ of execution is the tenant’s final notice to leave the rental unit and gives them the opportunity to remove their belongings before the sheriff, constable, or marshal returns to the property to forcibly remove the tenant.

If the court has ruled in the landlord’s favor, the court will issue a writ of possession or a writ of execution. This could happen at the eviction hearing or at a later date.

The tenant will be forcibly removed from the rental unit if they don’t move out before the writ is executed.

A few hours to a few days. The writ of possession could be issued the same day as the hearing.

Step 5: Possession of Property is Returned

If tenants have not moved out of the rental unit 24 hours (i.e. midnight the following night) after the writ is issued, the sheriff, constable, or marshal will return to forcibly remove the tenant. The sheriff, constable, or marshal shall be in the presence of two witnesses to clear the rental unit. If necessary, they may break open any window, door, or gate on the premises that is locked and stopping them from entering the premises.

24 hours. The tenant must move out within 24 hours of the date the writ is issued.

Louisiana Eviction Process Timeline

Below is a summary of the aspects outside of the landlord’s control that dictate the amount of time it takes to evict a tenant in Louisiana. With that being said, these estimates can vary greatly, and some time periods may not include weekends or legal holidays.

  1. Initial Notice Period – Between 5 and 30 days, depending on the notice type and reason for eviction.
  2. Issuance/Service of Summons and Complaint – at least two days prior to the eviction hearing.
  3. Court Hearing and Ruling on the Eviction – Three days after the summons is served on the tenant.
  4. Issuance of Writ of Possession – A few hours to a few days after judgment in favor of the landlord.
  5. Return of Possession – Within 24 hours of the date the writ is issued.
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Additional Information

Military Personnel’s Right to Terminate the Lease. An active or reserve member of the military may give the landlord written notice of the right to terminate the lease in the following situations:

  • The tenant has received initial or permanent change of station orders to depart for more than three months and is at least 35 miles away from the current rental unit location.
  • The tenant is discharged, released, or retires.
  • The tenant is ordered to reside in government-supplied quarters.
  • The tenant’s application for government-supplied quarters (which were not available to the tenant at the time the rental agreement began) are now available. At the beginning of tenancy, the tenant must provide the landlord in writing that the tenant has a pending request or application for government-supplied quarters at the time the rental agreement is entered into.
  • The tenant is injured incidental to military services, which requires hospitalization for more than fifteen days.

The tenant may give the landlord no less than 30 days’ notice and no more than 60 days prior to the date of departure to comply with the official orders given by the United States military.  The tenant shall give the landlord a copy of the official notification of orders, a signed letter confirming the orders from the commanding officer, or a statement signed by the housing officer confirming that no government-supplied quarters were available at the time the tenant signed the rental agreements.

Flowchart of Louisiana Eviction Process

For additional questions about the eviction process in Louisiana, please refer to the official legislation, Louisiana Revised Statutes §9:3259, Louisiana Civil Code of Procedure 4701-4733, and Louisiana Civil Code 2728, for more information.