Steps of the eviction process in Louisiana:
- Landlord serves notice to tenant.
- Landlord files lawsuit with court.
- Court serves tenant with summons & complaint.
- Court holds hearing & issues judgment.
- Writ of possession issued.
- Possession of property is returned.
From start to finish, an eviction in Louisiana can be completed in two to five weeks. However, it can take longer depending on the reason and whether the tenant contests it.
Grounds for an Eviction in Louisiana
In Louisiana, a landlord cannot legally evict a tenant without cause. Legal grounds to evict include not paying rent on time, staying after the lease ends, violating lease terms or not upholding responsibilities under Louisiana law. Even so, proper notice must first be given before ending the tenancy.
|Nonpayment of Rent||5 Days||No|
|End of / No Lease||10 Days||No|
|Lease Violation||5 Days||No|
Eviction for Nonpayment of Rent
In Louisiana, a landlord can evict a tenant for not paying rent on time. To do so, they must first give 5 days’ notice to move out without the chance to fix the issue. If the tenant does not vacate after that time, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.
Unless the lease states otherwise, rent is due at the beginning of each pay period and is considered late in Louisiana the day immediately after its due date. So for example, if rent is due on the first of the month, it is considered late starting on the second of the month (if not paid in full). There is no right to a legal grace period (i.e., five days) or exceptions for weekends or court-observed holidays.
Once rent is considered late, the landlord can begin the eviction process by serving the tenant with proper notice.
Eviction for No Lease or End of Lease
In Louisiana, a landlord can evict a tenant without a lease or a lease that has ended (known as a “holdover tenant” or “tenant at will”). To do so, they must first terminate the tenancy by giving proper notice to move out (10 days for tenants that pay month-to-month).
Once the tenancy ends, if the tenant remains on the property, the landlord can move forward and file an eviction lawsuit.
Eviction for Violation of Lease or Responsibilities
In Louisiana, a landlord can evict a tenant for violating the terms of their lease or not upholding their responsibilities under Louisiana landlord-tenant law. Landlords are not required to allow tenants to correct a lease violation in these instances, but they must provide tenants with a written 5 days’ notice to move out prior to beginning an eviction action.
Tenant responsibilities include:
- Using the property in accordance with the lease agreement.
- Keeping the dwelling unit in a good condition.
Examples of lease violations include:
- Having too many people reside at the rental unit without the landlord’s knowledge.
- Negligently or deliberately damaging the rental property.
- Having a pet when there’s a no-pet policy.
- Illegal activity.
Illegal Evictions in Louisiana
In Louisiana, self-help evictions are illegal. If found liable, the landlord could be required to pay the tenant $200 and/or could face imprisonment up to 3 months.
No matter the situation, a landlord is not allowed to forcibly remove a tenant by:
- Changing the locks.
- Shutting off utilities.
- Removing tenant belongings.
A tenant can only be legally removed with a court order obtained through the formal eviction process.
In Louisiana, there is no state statute prohibiting landlords from retaliating against tenants for exercising their legal rights (i.e., pursuing a legal action against the landlord, joining a tenant’s union).
Step 1: Landlord Serves Notice to Tenant
A landlord can begin the eviction process in Louisiana by serving the tenant with written notice. The notice must be delivered by one of the following methods:
- Giving a copy to the tenant in person.
- Posting a copy on the door of the rental unit.
- Mailing a copy.
It is important for a landlord to always maintain a copy of the signed and served notice as proof of proper service of notice.
5-Day Notice to Quit
If a tenant is late on paying rent (full or partial) or if the tenant commits a lease violation in Louisiana, the landlord can serve them a 5-Day Notice to Quit. This notice gives the tenant 5 calendar days to move out without the chance to fix the issue.
10-Day Notice to Quit
For a tenant with no lease or a month-to-month lease in Louisiana, the landlord must serve them a 10-Day Notice to Quit end the tenancy. This eviction notice allows the tenant 10 calendar days to move out.
For tenants that don’t pay monthly, the amount of notice differs:
|Rent Payment Frequency||Notice Amount|
|No Definite Term||5 Days|
Step 2: Landlord Files Lawsuit with Court
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 (or Rule to Evict) ordering the tenant appears for a hearing.
In City and District Courts the Rule for Possession shall be written and must state the cause for the eviction.
In Justice of the Peace Courts the Rule for Possession does not need to be written.
Step 3: Court Serves Tenant with Summons & Complaint
The Rule for Possession 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:
- Giving a copy to the tenant in person;
- Posting a copy on the door of the rental unit; or
- 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 4: Court Holds Hearing & Issues 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.
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 a tenant does provide a written answer, the tenant should respond immediately.
If the judge rules in favor of the landlord, a writ of possession 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 5: Writ of Possession Is Issued
The writ of possession 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 6: 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
In Louisiana, an eviction can be completed in 2 to 5 weeks but can take longer depending on the reason for eviction, whether the eviction is contested, which days courts are (or aren’t) in session and other various possible delays.
Below are the parts of the Louisiana eviction process outside the control of landlords for cases that go uncontested.
|Initial Notice Period||5-30 Calendar Days|
|Court Issuing Summons||~2 Business Days|
|Court Serving Summons||~2 Business Days|
|Tenant Response Period||Not Required|
|Court Ruling||3 Business Days|
|Court Serving Writ of Possession||1-3 Business Days|
|Final Notice Period||24 Hours|