Tenants in Louisiana have the legal right to repairs for issues that place the property in violation of state health and safety standards. To exercise this right, they must properly notify the landlord about the issue that needs repair, and allow a reasonable time for repairs.
Louisiana Landlord Responsibilities for Repairs
Louisiana landlords are responsible for keeping all of the following in good working condition:
Required plumbing and hot water.
Required electrical facilities.
Smoke alarms and (after Jan. 1, 2023) carbon monoxide detectors.
Anything impacting health, safety, or habitability.
If any of the above stops working properly, and the tenant isn’t at fault for the damage, the landlord is the one responsible for making the repairs necessary to fix it.
What Repairs Are Tenants Responsible for in Louisiana?
Louisiana tenants are responsible for repairingany damage caused to the property through their own fault.
Requesting Repairs in Louisiana
Louisiana tenants may request repairs throughany method that communicates their needs effectivelyto the landlord, as long as this still enables the repair request to be made “without delay.” Written notice is legally preferable, since it helps prove the exact timing and contents of a repair request.
How Long Does a Landlord Have To Make Repairs in Louisiana?
Louisiana landlords get a“reasonable time”to make repairs after getting a written request. What’s reasonable gets decided based on the totality of circumstances, case by case.
Can the Landlord Refuse To Make Repairs in Louisiana?
Louisiana landlordscannot refuse to make repairswhich are necessary to keep the premises habitable, except for damage that’s the renter’s fault.
Do Landlords Have To Pay for Alternative Accommodation During Repairs in Louisiana?
Louisiana landlords arenot required to pay for alternative accommodationwhile they conduct repairs. However, a situation that deprives the tenant of the use of the rental property requires a proportionate reduction in rent, so the tenant doesn’t have to pay rent while the rental property is inaccessible.
Tenant’s Rights if Repairs Aren’t Made in Louisiana
Louisiana tenants can eithercancel the rental agreement and recover damagesthrough an action in court, orrepair and deductthe reasonable cost of fixing the issue, when the landlord doesn’t make timely repairs. Failure to repair may also be a defense in eviction actions.
Can the Tenant Withhold Rent in Louisiana?
Louisiana tenantscan’t withhold rent.They are allowed to repair and deduct, but they are not allowed to withhold the rent entirely, or deduct even a percentage from the rent without also contracting for repairs.
Can the Tenant Repair and Deduct in Louisiana?
Louisiana tenantscan repair and deductthe necessary and reasonable cost of needed repairs that the landlord hasn’t performed in a reasonable time after proper notice.
Can the Tenant Break Their Lease in Louisiana?
Louisiana tenantscan break the leasewhen the landlord doesn’t perform necessary repairs within a reasonable time after proper notice.
Can the Tenant Sue in Louisiana?
Louisiana tenantscan sue to recover monetary damageswhen the landlord hasn’t made necessary repairs within a reasonable time after proper notice.
Can the Tenant Report the Landlord in Louisiana?
Louisiana tenantscan report landlords for code violationsthat affect health or safety. Tenants should usually report to the local inspections or code enforcement department. If an inspecting officer finds a violation, the tenant could sue to cancel the rental agreement, or repair and deduct.
Louisiana landlordsaren’t specifically prohibited by statute from retaliatingagainst tenants. However, courts recognize the potential for an abuse of rights that results from retaliatory eviction, so tenants can assert retaliation as a defense if they can prove the landlord’s retaliatory motive.
“The lessee is bound to notify the lessor without delay when the thing has been damaged or requires repair, or when his possession has been disturbed by a third person. The lessor is entitled to damages sustained as a result of the lessee’s failure to perform this obligation.”
“If the lessor fails to perform his obligation to make necessary repairs within a reasonable time after demand by the lessee, the lessee may cause them to be made. The lessee may demand immediate reimbursement of the amount expended for the repair or apply that amount to the payment of rent, but only to the extent that the repair was necessary and the expended amount was reasonable.”
“During the lease, the lessor is bound to make all repairs that become necessary to maintain the thing in a condition suitable for the purpose for which it was leased, except those for which the lessee is responsible.” La. Civ. Code § 2691 (2022). “The lessee is liable for damage to the thing caused by his fault or that of a person who, with his consent, is on the premises or uses the thing.” La. Civ. Code § 2687 (2022)
“In Louisiana, the lessor has the obligation to maintain the leased premises in a condition fit for its intended use, and to make necessary repairs. If the lessor fails to fulfill this obligation, the law provides the lessee with two options. He can sue for dissolution of the lease agreement and resulting damages, or he can make indispensable repairs himself and deduct a reasonable cost thereof from the rent due. A lessee is not justified in retaining possession of the leased premises rent-free without pursuing either of these codal remedies. The Louisiana Supreme Court has explicitly held that a lessee may not anticipate refusal or neglect to make the repairs or withhold rent to apply economic pressure on a lessor.”
“A dwelling type building provided with a drainage system, a community sewerage system connection or an individual sewerage system shall have at least one water closet, one bathtub or shower, one lavatory, one kitchen-type sink and an adequate source of hot water for each family unit to meet minimum basic requirements for health, sanitation and personal hygiene.”
“During the lease, the lessor is bound to make all repairs that become necessary to maintain the thing in a condition suitable for the purpose for which it was leased, except those for which the lessee is responsible… the lessor… must make all the necessary repairs, except those that are attributable to the fault of the lessee or are expressly assigned to the lessee by law or contract.”
“If during the lease the thing requires a repair that cannot be postponed until the end of the lease, the lessor has the right to make that repair even if this causes the lessee to suffer inconvenience or loss of use of the thing. In such a case, the lessee may obtain a reduction or abatement of the rent, or a dissolution of the lease, depending on all of the circumstances, including each party’s fault or responsibility for the repair, the length of the repair period, and the extent of the loss of use.”
“[W]hile the lessee is afforded the privilege of deducting the reasonable price of the indispensable repairs made by him upon default of the lessor, it follows as a necessary corollary that such repairs must actually be consummated by him. …the necessary repairs must begin within a reasonable time after the lessee exercises the privilege of retaining the rent therefor.”
Louisiana places great importance on being able to hear all potential defenses in eviction actions: “The court shall make the [eviction] rule returnable not earlier than the third day after service thereof, at which time the court shall try the rule and hear any defense which is made.” La. Code Civ. Pro. § 4732(A) (2022)See generallyNola E., LLC v. Sims, 265 So. 3d 1147, 1150 (La. Ct. App. 2019) (“Eviction proceedings are governed by La. C.C.P. arts. 4701 et seq. Under La. C.C.P. art. 4732, a ‘court shall try the rule and hear any defense which is made .’”)