Louisiana Habitability Laws

QUICK FACTS
  • Landlord Responsibilities. For all residential properties, landlords are required to ensure the property is in a “suitable condition” (read more).
  • Making Repairs. Louisiana law requires the landlord to maintain the property and make necessary repairs (read more).
  • Tenant Options. If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, tenant can’t withhold rent but is allowed to fix the problem and deduct the reasonable cost from next month’s rent (read more).
  • Retaliation. Louisiana has no statutes regarding landlord retaliation (read more).

The implied warranty of habitability in Louisiana does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are & aren’t included.

Dwelling TypeLandlord/Tenant Laws Apply?
Single familyYes
Multi-familyYes
Fraternities/Sororities/ClubsNot specifically addressed
RV parksNot specifically addressed
Mobile home parksNot specifically addressed
CondosNot specifically addressed
Hotels/MotelsNot specifically addressed

Additionally, rental agreements are not allowed to include any provisions that waive the tenant’s right to live in a habitable residence.

Landlord Responsibilities

The following chart lists possible landlord responsibilities when it comes to habitability.  Not all of them are requirements in Louisiana, as indicated below.
Note: some of the below items may not be addressed at the state level but may be addressed on a county or city level. Check your local housing codes to see which additional requirements may apply.

Habitability IssueLandlord Responsibility?
Provide windows and doors that are in good repair.Not specifically addressed
Ensure the roof, walls, etc., are completely waterproofed and there are no leaks.Not specifically addressed
Provide hot and cold running water.Not specifically addressed
Provide working HVAC equipment.Not specifically addressed
Provide working plumbing and electrical wiring/outlets/ lighting.Not specifically addressed
Provide working gas lines if used for utilities/cookingNot specifically addressed
Provide working sanitation facilities (bathtub/shower, toilet).Not specifically addressed
Provide a trash can (for trash pickup services).Not specifically addressed
Ensure that any stairs and railings are safe.Not specifically addressed
Ensure that all floors are in good condition and safe.Not specifically addressed
Provide fire exits that are usable, safe, and clean.Not specifically addressed
Ensure storage areas, including garages and basements, do not house combustible materials.Not specifically addressed
Provide working smoke detectorsNot specifically addressed
Provide a mailbox.Not specifically addressed
Provide working wiring for one telephone jack.Not specifically addressed
Provide working kitchen appliances.Not specifically addressed
Provide working carbon monoxide detector.Not specifically addressed
Provide a working washer/dryer.Not specifically addressed

Louisiana’s state laws regarding landlords and tenants are extremely vague.

Sprinkler Systems

Not all states require existing apartment complexes, townhomes, and condos to have sprinkler systems. Many states do not require new construction to have sprinkler systems, either. However, Louisiana has enacted laws requiring “retroactive” installations for high rises.

Making Repairs

Tenants must ask their landlord to fix the problem and follow up with a written request.

  • Sending notice – Tenants can send the notice via mail, and must keep a copy of the letter and how it was mailed for their records. The letter must indicate the request for the landlord to fix the problem within 14 days (or sooner for emergency repairs). The letter must also say that should the landlord fail to do the repairs, the tenant will have it fixed and deduct the cost from the rent.
  • Landlord access – Tenants are required to give the landlord access to the property to make necessary repairs.

Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made

If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner, the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.

  1. Withhold rent – Louisiana landlord tenant law does not outright state that a tenant in Louisiana has the ability to withhold rent in response to habitability issues.
  2. Repair and deduct – tenants have the right to repair the issue themselves and deduct a reasonable amount for the repair from the following month’s rent. If making the repairs requires the tenant to leave the unit while repairs are made, the tenant is allowed to pay reduced rent while the tenant is out of the unit.
  3. Lawsuit – tenants do have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues.
  4. Reporting to Public Officials – If there is a violation of any local housing codes, the tenant can complain to the local housing inspectors.

Landlord Retaliation

Unlike other states, there are no statutes regarding landlord retaliation in Louisiana.

Sources