LawHelp State Frequently Asked Questions

Page 1 of 8

LawHelp.Org/LA is Administered by Southeast Louisiana Legal Services

LawHelp/LA Home Page > Housing > Evictions

Print Close Larger Text

Evictions--What Rights Do I Have?
by: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (New Orleans office)

Search Tips on Searching

Q.
Now you can hear a sound recording of this LawHelp item! Click here to listen. When you are done with the recording click on the "X" in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to get back to LawHelp. Can my landlord just lock me out?
Live Chat by LivePerson

Find Legal Help On Evictions Related Resources Housing Justice Network (Separate
Website)

A.

No, it is against the law for your landlord to lock you out or throw you out. Your landlord must get a court order to evict you. If your landlord changes your locks, shuts off your utilities or takes your property, he has broken the law. A court may order him to stop breaking the law and to pay you damages.

Practical Advice on Housing Law
(Separate Website) By: American Bar Association

Flood and Fire Victims' Rights as Tenants
By: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (New Orleans office)

more...

Q. Can my landlord evict me for no reason? A.
It depends. If you are a month-to-month tenant, your landlord can evict you without any reason. If you have a written lease or if you live in subsidized housing, then your landlord cannot evict you for no reason. Month-to-Month Tenants

http://www.lawhelp.org/LA/showdocument.cfm/County/%20/City/%20/demoMode/=%20... 3/31/2011

LawHelp State Frequently Asked Questions

Page 2 of 8

If you rent by the month and do not have an agreement as to how long your rental will last, you are a "month-to-month" tenant. If you are a month-to-month tenant, your landlord can evict you for "no cause" or reason. But the landlord must give you 10 days' notice in writing before the end of the current rental period. If the landlord does not give you the right notice, the judge should order the landlord to start the eviction process over -- usually for the next month. Defenses to these 10 day "no cause" evictions are limited. But if you do something to break your agreement, like not paying your rent, your landlord can generally evict you on 5 days' notice. Written Lease or Subsidized Housing If you have a written lease or if you live in subsidized housing, your landlord usually needs a good reason to evict you. For example, failure to pay rent or another violation of the lease. If your lease has run out you may be evicted without a good reason, unless you live in public housing or certain types of subsidized housing.

Q. Must my landlord give me notice before he sues for eviction? A.
Yes, your landlord has to give you notice before suing for eviction, unless you agreed in writing that you would not get this notice. The notice is usually called a "Notice to Vacate." The amount of notice usually depends on whether you have a written lease and what the lease says. If you have a lease, read the lease. It should tell you what notice the landlord must give and the reasons the landlord must have to evict you. If your lease has ended and does not automatically renew, your landlord may be able to sue without giving prior notice. Read the lease. If you are a month-to-month tenant (like many people who rent without a lease), your landlord must give you either 10 days or 5 days written notice to leave. If you do something to violate your agreement, like not paying your rent, your landlord only has to give you 5 days' notice.

http://www.lawhelp.org/LA/showdocument.cfm/County/%20/City/%20/demoMode/=%20... 3/31/2011

LawHelp State Frequently Asked Questions

Page 3 of 8

Your landlord must give you at least 10 days' notice before the end of the rental month if the landlord wants to evict you for no reason. The Notice to Vacate may be posted to your door. The Notice to Vacate does not have to be given to you personally in your hand. The Notice to Vacate does not have to be stamped with a court seal. It can be on a court form or written by the landlord or his agent.

Q. What does a "Notice to Vacate" mean? Do I have to move out? A.
A Notice to Vacate means that your landlord plans to file a lawsuit for your eviction if you don't move out by the end of the notice period. It is not a court order to move out. The landlord cannot get a court order for eviction until there has been a trial before a judge. If you get a Notice to Vacate, you should quickly decide what to do. If you want to stay, you should first try to work out a deal with the landlord. Some landlords just want their rent paid. If you don't have a good eviction defense, you should move. You need to find a new apartment before the landlord can get a court order evicting you. If possible, talk to a lawyer about whether you can stop the eviction. Defenses to a 10 day "no cause" eviction are limited. The most common defenses are that the notice was less than 10 days or that the landlord accepted the rent after he gave you the Notice to Vacate. If you have a written lease or live in public or subsidized housing, you may have other defenses to the eviction. You should try to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible.

Q. What happens after a Notice to Vacate? A.
If you do not move out by the end of the Notice to Vacate period, your landlord may have you served with court papers called a "Rule for Possession." A Rule for Possession is a lawsuit by the landlord asking that you be evicted. The Rule for Possession

http://www.lawhelp.org/LA/showdocument.cfm/County/%20/City/%20/demoMode/=%20... 3/31/2011

LawHelp State Frequently Asked Questions

Page 4 of 8

should tell you the date, time and place of the trial and the reasons why the landlord wants to evict you. The Rule for Possession asks the court to hold a trial and decide whether you can be evicted. If you want to fight the eviction, you have the right to be heard in court and to present your defenses.

Q. How much time do I have before the eviction trial? A.
A constable or sheriff will give you the Rule for Possession or post it on your door. The landlord can have these papers sent to you anytime after the end of the Notice To Vacate period. The Rule for Possession must be sent to you at least 2 full days before the trial.

Q. Can I stop an eviction by paying the rent? A.
A landlord generally does not have to accept late rent unless it was within a grace period. The landlord may refuse the rent and sue you for eviction. If he later accepts the rent or had a custom of accepting late rent, you may have a defense to an eviction for nonpayment of rent.

Q. How do I stop the eviction if I have defenses? A.
File a notarized answer with the Clerk's office before the trial. This answer must state your defenses to the eviction. You must swear before a notary that the statements in your answer are true. Many justice of the peace courts do not charge tenants for court fees. However, parish and city courts generally charge tenants for an answer to an eviction. If you cannot afford the costs, ask the court to allow you to file your answer for free. To ask the court if you can file for free, you must file an Application to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. For more information on how to do this, see the LawHelp item called "In Forma Pauperis--When You Can't Afford Court Costs." If you lose the trial, you have 24 hours to appeal and must post an appeal bond. For more information about stopping an eviction, see the LawHelp items called "How to Defend an Eviction"

http://www.lawhelp.org/LA/showdocument.cfm/County/%20/City/%20/demoMode/=%20... 3/31/2011

LawHelp State Frequently Asked Questions

Page 5 of 8

and "How to Appeal an Eviction."

Q. What happens if I do not go to the eviction trial? A.
You will lose. The judge will most likely enter a "default judgment" against you. Then the landlord can get a "Warrant for Possession" 24 hours after the judgment to have you evicted by the constable or sheriff.

Q. What happens if I go to court and lose? A.
If the court rules against you and you do not timely appeal, your landlord can get a "Warrant of Possession" from the court 24 hours after the judgment to have you evicted by the constable or sheriff. You can appeal to a higher court. For information on your appeal rights, see "How to Appeal an Eviction." If you are not going to appeal, you should promptly move out before you are thrown out.

Q. Will the court give me more time to move? A.
Sometimes. Generally, most judges will only give you extra time if the landlord agrees to extra time. Ask the judge for extra time if you need it. Explain what hardship you will suffer if you have to move out right away. If you have looked hard for a new place to live, but still have not found one, it may help to explain this. There is no legal right to extra time, but some judges may give you extra time if you really need it.

notice of my eviction. Q. I never receivedthe eviction judgment? Can I do anything about

A.
In some cases you may have a right to have the judgment called off. For example, if you did not get notice or your landlord evicted you for "no cause" even though you paid your rent or had a written lease. You should talk to a lawyer to see if you have this right in your case.

http://www.lawhelp.org/LA/showdocument.cfm/County/%20/City/%20/demoMode/=%20... 3/31/2011

LawHelp State Frequently Asked Questions

Page 6 of 8

To stop a judgment in such cases, you must immediately file either a Petition for Nullity of Judgment or a Motion for New Trial with the eviction court. You must also ask the judge to "stay" or stop the eviction until he has heard your Petition or Motion. It is not easy for non-lawyers to do this. If possible, you should get a lawyer.

Q. What is a warrant of possession? A.
This paper comes from the court and gives the landlord the right to get his apartment back. You must move out of your apartment after getting the warrant. If you do not move out, the sheriff or constable will remove you and your property.

Last Reviewed On: 10/24/06

Información en Español sigue el Inglés.

Click to hear a sound recording of this information. Information Not Legal Advice. This web site has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this web site is not legal advice. Legal advice depends on the specific facts of each situation. Some information in this web site may not be correct for where you are. The information in this web site is not guaranteed to be up-to-date. The information in this web site cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your state. Lawyer Advertising. In some jurisdictions this web site may be considered lawyer advertising. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Any listing of an attorney does not constitute a recommendation of the attorney. Before hiring any attorney, you should investigate the attorney's reputation and qualifications. Links. This web site contains links to other resources on the Internet. Those links are provided as citations and aids to help you identify and locate other Internet resources that may be of interest, and are not intended to state or imply that we sponsor or are affiliated or associated with the persons or entities who created such sites, nor are the links intended to state or imply that we are legally authorized to use any trade name, registered trademark, logo, legal or official seal, or copyrighted symbol that may be reflected in the links. E-mail. Viewing this Web site, or transmitting an e-mail message through this Web site, does not create an attorney-client relationship. Sending e-mail to an attorney mentioned in this site does NOT create an attorney-client relationship between you and the attorney. Unless you are already a client of the attorney, your e-mail may NOT be protected by the attorney-client privilege. Moreover, unless it is encrypted, e-mail can be intercepted by persons other than the recipient. Deadlines are extremely important in most legal matters. You may lose important legal rights if you do not hire an attorney immediately to advise you. Many people do not check their e-mail daily, and some attorneys do not respond to unsolicited e-mail from non-clients.

http://www.lawhelp.org/LA/showdocument.cfm/County/%20/City/%20/demoMode/=%20... 3/31/2011

LawHelp State Frequently Asked Questions

Page 7 of 8

Information, Not Legal Advice. Esto es solamente información, no es consejo legal.
This web site has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this web site is not legal advice. Legal advice depends on the specific facts of each situation. Some information in this web site may not be correct for where you are. The information in this web site is not guaranteed to be up-to-date. The information in this web site cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your state. Este sitio del Internet fue preparado para dar solamente información. La información en este sitio no es consejo legal. Consejo legal depende de los datos específicos y las circunstancias de cada situación. Es posible que alguna información en este sitio no comporte con el área o la jurisdicción donde usted vive. Es posible que la información en este sitio no esté corriente. La información en este sitio no puede sustituir el consejo de un abogado competente y licenciado en su estado. Lawyer Advertising. In some jurisdictions this web site may be considered lawyer advertising. The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Propaganda de Abogados. En algunas jurisdicciones, este sitio puede ser considerado propaganda de abogados. Contratar con un abogado es una decisión importante que no debe depender solamente sobre anuncios. Any listing of an attorney does not constitute a recommendation of the attorney. Before hiring any attorney, you should investigate the attorney's reputation and qualifications. Información sobre un abogado no es una recomendación del abogado. Antes de contratar con un abogado, usted debe investigar la reputación y las capacidades del abogado. Links. This web site contains links to other resources on the Internet. Those links are provided as citations and aids to help you identify and locate other Internet resources that may be of interest, and are not intended to state or imply that we sponsor or are affiliated or associated with the persons or entities who created such site, nor are the links intended to state or imply that we are legally authorized to use any trade name, registered trademark, logo, legal or official seal, or copyrighted symbol that may be reflected in the links. Conexiones. Este sitio tiene conexiones a otros recursos del Internet. El sitio ofrece estos conexiones para ayudarle identificar y localizar otros recursos del Internet que pueden ser beneficiosos. Estas conexiones no declaran o insinúan que nosotros patrocinamos o que estamos asociados con las personas o entidades que han creado cualquier otro sitio. Los conexiones no declaran o insinúan que nosotros podemos legalmente usar cada nombre de comercios, marca registrada, logotipo, sello legal, o símbolo de los derechos reservados de autor que estén reflejados en las conexiones. E-mail. Viewing this Web site, or transmitting an e-mail message through this Web site, does not create an attorney-client relationship. Sending e-mail to an attorney mentioned in this site does NOT create an attorney-client relationship between you and the attorney. Unless you are already a client of the attorney, your e-mail may NOT be protected by the attorney-client privilege. Moreover, unless it is encrypted, e-mail can be intercepted by persons other than the recipient. Deadlines are extremely important in most legal matters. You may lose important legal rights if you do not hire an attorney immediately to advise you. Many people do not check their e-mail daily, and some attorneys do not respond to unsolicited e-mail from non-clients. Correo Electrónico. Si usted mira este sitio, o si usted envía un mensaje de correo electrónico por este sitio, esta acción no crea un relación entre abogado y cliente. Usted no tiene relación entre abogado y cliente si usted envía correo electrónico a un abogado que el sitio mencionado. Si usted no es un cliente del abogado, es posible que su correo electrónico a este abogado no tendrá protección del privilegio entre abogados y clientes. Si su correo electrónico no tiene clave secreta electrónica, es posible que su correo electrónico pueda ser interceptado por otras personas que no son el recipiente. Fechas topes son muy importantes en la mayoría del los asuntos legales. Usted puede perder derechos importantes si usted no contrata con un abogado inmediatamente quien le pueda dar consejo legal. Muchas personas no miran el correo electrónico cada día, y algunos abogados no responden a correo electrónico que no es solicitado de las

http://www.lawhelp.org/LA/showdocument.cfm/County/%20/City/%20/demoMode/=%20... 3/31/2011

LawHelp State Frequently Asked Questions

Page 8 of 8

personas que no son clientes.

Make LawHelp better! Click here to take our survey.
Learn how to use this site: click here to hear and see a slide show. En Espanol: oprima aqui. Are you trying to handle a legal problem on your own, without a lawyer? Use this survey to tell us what resources would help you most. Advocates, librarians, social service agency workers and others: help spread the word about LawHelp. Here is a brochure in English and here is a brochure in both English and Spanish.

Your support makes a difference! Please mail your taxdeductible donation to: Southeast Louisiana Legal Services P.O. Drawer 2867 Hammond, Louisiana 70404

© 2001 - 2010, Pro Bono Net, All Rights Reserved. Legal Help in Other States

http://www.lawhelp.org/LA/showdocument.cfm/County/%20/City/%20/demoMode/=%20... 3/31/2011

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful