In Louisiana, a landlord’s obligation for providing a habitable living space is primarily governed by LA Civ Code Art. 2691. This legal requirement, commonly known as the “implied warranty of habitability”, also outlines the rights of tenants when repairs are not made in a timely manner.
Applicable Dwelling Types in Louisiana
The implied warranty of habitability in Louisiana does not apply to all types of dwellings. See the table below for which are and aren’t included.
|Dwelling Type||Landlord/Tenant Laws Apply?|
|Fraternities/Sororities/Clubs||Not specifically addressed|
|RV parks||Not specifically addressed|
|Mobile home parks||Not specifically addressed|
|Condos||Not specifically addressed|
|Hotels/Motels||Not 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 in Louisiana
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 items below 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 Issue||Landlord 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/cooking||Not 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 detectors||Not 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 do not address many habitability issues.
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.
Tenant’s Right to Repairs in Louisiana
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. There is no current statute on how long the landlord should give the tenant notice before entering.
Tenant’s Options if Repairs Aren’t Made in Louisiana
If repairs aren’t made in a timely manner (within 14 days or less if the repair is an emergency), the tenant has a few possible options for resolving the issue.
- 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.
- Repair and Deduct – Tenants have the right to repair the issue themselves and immediately demand a reimbursement for the repair or deduct the repair amount 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.
- Lawsuit – Tenants do have the right to take legal action for damages resulting from habitability issues.
- 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 in Louisiana
Unlike other states, there are no statutes regarding landlord retaliation in Louisiana.
- Louisiana Attorney General, “Moving In, Moving Out, and Everything In Between!”
- Louisiana State Legislature, Revised Statutes, Title 9, Civil Code Ancillaries, Articles 3200-3261.1.
- Louisiana State Legislature, Civil Code, Articles 2668-2729.
- Quick Response Fire Supply, “#212-Installing Sprinklers in Commercial Buildings: Evolving Codes and Tragedies Drive Laws.”
- Louisiana Landlord Tenant Laws
- Louisiana Landlord and Tenant Duties (ncsl.org)