BATON ROUGE, LA – Attorney General Jeff Landry is educating
landlords and tenants impacted by the recent flooding across Louisiana about
their rights under the law.
“Thousands of our neighbors in rental agreements were devastated by the recent
flooding,” said Attorney General Jeff Landry. “From deposits to leases,
maintenance to repairs – it is critical for tenants and landlords understand
their responsibilities and obligations as they work to pick up the
Attorney General Jeff Landry offers the following tips to landlords and tenants
before and after natural disasters strike:
- Lease. A lease is a
contract which legally binds both parties to terms for a specified period
of time. Breach of the lease by either party can result in serious legal
and financial consequences. Always keep a copy of the signed lease in a
- Insurance. Because flood
damage is not generally covered under homeowners insurance, landlords may
need separate flood insurance for coverage. It is also vital that tenants
have their own renters’ insurance policy. Landlord insurance does not
cover renters’ items.
- Damage. Write down and
take pictures of the damage, regardless if you are the owner or the
tenant. You may need this for insurance. Do not turn utilities on until
you know it is safe. Look for broken items and for tell-tale signs such as
buckling wood floors or water spots inside the home
- Repairs. Though some
leases do not require repair requests in writing, all requests should be
made in writing and/or in the presence of witnesses. Tenants are strongly
advised to keep a record of all maintenance problems, repairs, and
failures to repair.
- Total Loss. In the case of a
property being a total loss after a natural disaster, the lease becomes
effectively terminated automatically. In this case, the landlord does not
have to provide shelter to the tenant. The best bet for any renter is to
have a renter’s insurance policy to provide temporary shelter in the event
of an emergency, as these claims and processes take time and cannot
provide immediate assistance.
Attorney General Jeff Landry says if the landlord refuses to
maintain the property or refuses to make necessary repairs after
being notified, the tenant has several options:
For more tenant and landlord tips or other
consumer-related information, please visit www.AGJeffLandry.com.
And for ways the federal government may be able to assist tenants and landlords
after natural disasters, please visit www.fema.gov.
- The tenant can file a dispute
with Attorney General Jeff Landry’s Consumer Protection Section by calling
- If there is a structural or
hazardous defect, the tenant can report it to the local building officials
- If a serious problem is ignored
and the tenant has substantial proof of the landlord’s failure to perform
his or her obligations, the tenant may terminate the lease. Terminating a
lease without sufficient cause will result in serious financial and legal
consequences; therefore, the tenant should seek private legal advice
before terminating a lease due to improper maintenance.