The Louisiana rental application form is a document that landlords send out to a prospective tenant to collect personal and financial information to help determine eligibility. The information often includes rental history and eviction history to give an accurate profile of the applicant.
- Application Fee – in Louisiana, there is no limit to the application fees being charged.
- Discrimination Laws – Louisiana does not have its own specific state protections against discrimination. However, federal law makes it illegal in Louisiana to ask about race, color, religion, nationality, sex, disabilities, or familial status (such as children who will live in the property), with some exceptions.
- Consent for Credit Check – the Federal Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires a prospective tenant to give the landlord written consent to check their credit history during the screening process.
Louisiana Rental Application Laws
The following laws apply to the application and tenant screening process in the state of Louisiana.
Collecting an Application Fee in Louisiana
Landlords and/or agents may charge any application fee they want, with no limitations from the state.
Illegal Housing Discrimination in Louisiana
Federal laws are in effect in Louisiana to protect potential renters from unfair discrimination during the application process.
Fair Housing Act
The Federal Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate against the following protected classes:
- National Origin (Nationality)
- Familial Status (having or not having children)
- Disability (Physical or Mental)
As a result, asking about any of these items on a rental application form (and/or using them to base an application decision on) is not allowed.
Exemptions to Fair Housing Laws
Exemptions from Fair Housing laws do exist. In Louisiana, the following exemptions are allowed:
- Familial Status – landlords may ask about and base an application decision on if children will occupy the rented premises in any of the below cases:
- Two-family owner-occupied buildings.
- Housing for Older Persons Exemption – landlords may ask for an applicant’s age or about any children in the case of age-restricted communities such as senior housing. This federal exemption, known as the “Housing for Older Persons” exemption, can apply to 55+ or even 62+ communities that meet the requirements.
- Mrs. Murphy Exemption – dwellings with four units or less where one unit is occupied by the owner are exempt from Fair Housing Laws in Louisiana, unless a real estate agent represents the landlord.
- Religious Organizations – religious beliefs can be used as a basis for application decisions when the property is owned, operated, supervised, or controlled by a religious organization that does not rent for commercial purposes. However, other protected classes may not be the basis for making a decision as a result of this exemption. 42 U.S. Code § 3607
- Private Clubs – private clubs that operate without commercial intent or access to the public may provide preferential treatment of applications for lodgings owned or operated by the club. 42 U.S. Code § 3607
Federally, race is a non-exemption criteria that cannot have an influence on any application decisions, exemption or otherwise.
Consent for Credit Checks
Before a landlord can run a credit check based on the prospective tenant’s information on the submitted rental application, the Federal Credit Reporting Act requires that written consent must be given by the applicant. This written consent can be given via a statement of such and signature on the rental application form itself, or via a separate consent form (example template).
Louisiana Security Deposit Law
If an applicant is approved, the following laws apply to the collection of security deposits in Louisiana:
- Standard Limit / Maximum Amount: There are no laws limiting how much a security deposit may be.
- Receipt Requirements: Louisiana landlords are not required to provide a specific receipt of security deposit holdings.
- Financial Holdings: there are no requirements for holding a security deposit in Louisiana.
Sending Rental Application Forms
Landlords can send rental application forms to tenants in one of two ways:
- Manually – using the PDF and Word templates available for free on our website (see the top right of this webpage), landlords can send a rental application form to tenants via a physical copy or email.
- With Software – most popular property management software services include an online rental application form that can automate the collection and screening process for landlords.
For reviews of popular property management software, click here.
Processing a Rental Application
The next step in the tenant screening process is to use the information on the rental application form to conduct a background check:
- Credit Check – subject to the tenant’s written consent, a credit check will either provide a simpler “pass/fail” report, or a full credit report including the tenant’s credit score and information about their income, employment, past addresses, credit inquiries and more.
- Eviction Check – an eviction check aims to show the tenant’s history of eviction filings or judgments against them at any point in the last 7 years.
- Criminal History Check – a criminal history check aims to show any records involving the tenant in state court criminal records or in databases such as the national sex offender public registry.
Louisiana Eviction Record Search
Louisiana eviction records are public domain and accessible from the state’s records, which means you can request a copy of a file on potential tenants for free (or you can use a third party service).
To access the eviction records yourself:
- Access Louisiana’s Fifth Circuit Court Record Search.
- From the dropdown menu, select the option to search by litigant name.
- Enter the potential tenant’s name and other information you may have to view any existing records. Dockets available for viewing will be denoted by the pdf icon next to the case number.
Limited records are available online. For wider access to court records, contact:
Louisiana Supreme Court,
400 Royal St.,
New Orleans, LA 70130
Clerk of Court’s Office (504) 310-2300
Judicial Administrator’s Office (504) 310-2550
Responding to Rental Applications
If an applicant meets all of your tenant screening criteria, then there’s nothing you need to do beyond notifying them and moving forward with the normal leasing process.
However, if you acquire a consumer report for an applicant (i.e. credit, eviction or criminal history) and you make an “adverse action” against them (EVEN IF the report’s information wasn’t the primary reason for doing so), you are required to provide the tenant with a notice letter that includes certain details, known as an “adverse action notice”.
An adverse action is defined as either rejecting the applicant or instituting additional/higher requirements than you have for another applicant (i.e. requiring a co-signer, larger security deposit, higher rent or an additional deposit).
In these cases, an adverse action notice is required to be sent to the applicant, and must include the following:
- The agency’s name, address and phone number that supplied the report.
- A statement explaining that the CRA didn’t make the decision for the adverse action themselves, and as a result, that they can’t explain why the decision was made.
- A statement explaining the applicant’s right to dispute such information and their right to a copy of the report in question within 60 days.
To learn more about requirements surrounding adverse action notices, see this article from the Federal Trade Commission. To get an idea of what an adverse action notice might look like, see this example letter.
Additionally, to protect against accusations of illegal discrimination, it is always recommended to include the exact reason why the application was not approved in the rejection letter.