Get our FREE Louisiana month-to-month residential lease agreement form template and learn more about Louisiana-specific disclosures and laws.
Click here to view/download the direct PDF file.
For those that don’t want to commit to a fixed-term lease, one of the best options available without agreeing to an off-the-books tenancy is a month-to-month lease, which is often referred to as an at-will lease. With a standard lease in the state of Louisiana, a tenant or a landlord can expect to be locked into a restrictive term that spans anywhere from six months to two years for a residence. Also, if the tenant violates this lease in any way, he or she may be expected to pay the remainder of the lease value at worst or lose their security deposit at best.
Instead, one of the aforementioned at-will leases can be an option that isn’t nearly as restrictive. This is because these leases are designed to end at the end of every month and will automatically renew at the start of the next. This process will continue into perpetuity until one of the associated parties decides that they want the lease to end. Unlike other states that deem that either party must provide 30 or even 45 days’ worth of notice, Louisiana only requires 10 from both potentially terminating parties, so it’s relatively easy to vacate.
This termination period can be lengthened by the rules of the lease, but having such a small notification period certainly has its advantages for both parties. For example, if a tenant is looking to move to an area but hasn’t found an ideal living situation, he or she can enter into a less-favorable month-to-month lease and search for better accommodations. When these accommodations become available, he or she will only need to provide a heads up of 10 days before moving.
For landlords, this can also be very beneficial. Sometimes, property owners will only want to rent their spaces for a short period of time. For example, homeowners in college towns may only wish to rent their spare rooms for a few months out of the year. When this is the case, a full fixed-term lease, even if it’s only six months, will not do. A month-to-month lease will mean that the property owner can rent space out for a brief period and then end the lease – allowing them to make a little bit of money on a temporary tenant.
What is a Louisiana Month-to-Month Lease?
A month-to-month rental agreement in the state of Louisiana is a legally binding arrangement between a landlord and a tenant that commits them to a single month agreement instead of one that lasts for a fixed period of time, which is typically a year or two. If neither of the parties wishes to end the arrangement when the terms of the first month has been met, then the agreement will automatically renew each month and continue with the same terms. This is a way to protect both the landlord and the tenant when the tenant does not plan to be around for the terms of a regular rental agreement.
Louisiana Notice Requirements for Month-to-Month Lease Termination
When the tenant or the landlord would like to end the residential agreement that they have with the other party, they simply need to send a notice to them to inform them that they are ending the contract. Whether it is a tenant stating that they are moving out or a landlord requesting that the tenant vacate the property, they will be required to provide a notice of 10 days to the other party. This will provide ample time for the landlord to find another tenant and for the tenant to find a new place to live.
Raising Rent in Louisiana
Unlike other states, in Louisiana, there are no statues that control how much notice the landlord will need to provide the tenant if they are going to increase the rent. There is also not a law that will define how much the rent can be raised at a time or how often they will be allowed to change it. This means that the amount of rent that a tenant pays from month-to-month can change several times throughout the year if the landlord would like to request more.
Writing a Month to Month Lease Agreement in Louisiana
Just like a standard lease, an at-will lease will need to be very comprehensive so that most aspects of the tenancy are covered to both party’s needs. The lease should include details like the security deposit, the amount paid monthly, and pet policy for the property. Here are a few sections that will need to be covered in a month-to-month lease:
The Information for All Involved Parties
With a month-to-month lease, traditionally, the rental agreement is between the landlord and his or her renter, but it’s possible to have cotenants on the property as well. In any situation, the first thing that needs to be included is information about the parties involved in the at-will lease for the sakes of the courts. For everyone that’s affected by the lease, the full names will have to be included. In most cases, this will just require the first and last names for both the lessee and the lessor, but for completeness, it’s advisable to ensure that at least the middle initial of each of the parties is supplied as well.
Near the top of the form, one of the most pertinent pieces of info that will need to be included are details about the monthly rent payments. The first part of this section needs to explicitly lay out the value of the fair market rent that’s being charged for the property. This is in this area entirely for clarity, and it will provide the renter with the required information he or she needs when providing payments. This section can also state that the lease will automatically renew at the beginning of each month into perpetuity.
In addition to these important pieces of information, the next part of this section will need to adequately detail how rent must be paid. For some properties, the rent will need to be paid at a certain location, and if this is the case, the precise address should be made apparent here. Also, if the rent needs to be mailed in, then the address for the mail-in needs to be provided. Next, if there are extra charges atop the rent value, the entirety of monthly payments should go in this section.
The Security Deposit
Security deposits are pretty standard in Louisiana, and the state doesn’t establish a specific limit on the amount that a landlord may charge for this. Typically, it doesn’t exceed one or two month’s worth of rent. The lease needs to explain that Louisiana state law establishes that the security deposit must be provided within 30 days of a move-out. If damage occurs to the property, state law also confirms that the landlord can use the deposit to elicit repairs, but the amount used must be itemized to the tenant.
Not every property allows for pets, and for those that don’t, it’s critical that the lease explicitly states this. If a tenant violates a lease’s no pet rule, then this is grounds for lease termination. If, on the other hand, a lease does allow for pets, it’s also essential that rules for pets will need to be clearly outlined in the body of the document. Similarly to any no pet rules, if tenants violate the rules that have been established in the lease about having pets, then this is also grounds for lease termination. Finally, if there is to be a “pet fee,” which works like a security deposit, then this section will need to explain the rules of this as well as outline the cost.
Cars and Parking
Some properties in the state provide assigned parking for unit residents. If this is the case, the lease can establish preset parking spaces so that the tenant knows where he or she can park. It’s also a good idea to either map out or describe the parking spaces somewhere in the lease so that the tenant can find their spaces. Finally, a description of the vehicle should also be included somewhere in the lease so that the lessor doesn’t accidentally have the car towed away.
It’s very important to lay out the rules of the property so that there is a peaceful and easy tenancy, even if the rental is only at-will. Here are a few unit rules that a landlord can include so that everything goes smoothly:
- Rules on Furnishings: For some properties, there may be preexisting furnishings that the tenant may use freely when they are staying on the property. This often happens when the tenancy is designed to be short-term. For this reason, the lease agreement needs to firmly establish what is to remain on the property after a tenancy so that nothing is accidentally taken after the move out date. This also establishes the condition of said furnishings so that the security deposit can be used should inadvertent damage occur.
- Noise Policies: Everyone wants to have peaceful accommodations, and rules managing this peace and quiet should be established via a lease, especially when there are multiple tenants. For this reason, most leases have at least one clause pertaining to quiet times on the property. This isn’t established just for the sake of loud parties – these rules also extend to loud conversations, noisy guests, and furniture moving. Typically, quiet times occur after nine or 10 o’clock, and after this period, many properties establish a strike system for violators.
- Rules about maintaining common areas: Property managers and landlords depend on the upkeep of a property to draw in new renters, so if things are disorderly or untidy, their bottom line can be affected. For this reason, the month-to-month lease needs to create a standard for how each tenant helps manage the common areas. Rules on trash disposal, loitering, and how personal items are managed in these areas will need to be firmly established somewhere in the lease agreement.
Here are some additional terms to include:
- Abandonment: In a state that only requires 10 days’ worth of notice, abandonment can be an issue that crops up. For this reason, the lease should establish the period of time in which a landlord can deem a property abandoned by the tenant. This will allow him or her to start the search for a new tenant.
- Signage: Once the intent has been established for a tenant to vacate, the period in which a landlord may post signage about vacancies should be clearly stated in the lease. This can help the landlord find new tenants easier so that the property doesn’t go vacant for too long a time.
Similarly to a standard lease, to make the document legal, both parties will need to sign. Both the lessee and lessor will need to also print their name and date the document for it to be deemed legal in the courts.