Stephen A. Martin, Attorney at Law
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New law and bill focus on tenants, not landlords

Anyone who owns and rents residential properties in Louisiana will want to keep a close eye on any new or proposed laws that may impact their business. It is reasonable for a landlord to find ways to protect themselves financially and to ensure the proper care and condition of their properties. This is true whether they own multi-occupancy units, multiple single-family residences or just one single-family residence. 

In the past year, there have been efforts in the state of Louisiana that may seem to be targeting ways to make it harder for landlords to be paid or protect their investments. The first was a bill actually passed earlier in 2018. NOLA reported that this new law will give tenants the ability to seek compensation from landlords who do not return their full security deposits. It is not clear what provisions may be included in this bill to protect landlords in cases where tenants have not earned their security deposit refunds.

Later in 2018, another bill was introduced that is designed to prevent retaliatory behavior on the part of landlords against tenants who report concerns or problems. While in theory this may sound reasonable, landlords themselves have reason to be concerned because of what might be pointed to as retaliation. For example, if a landlord increases rent or chooses not to renew a person's lease within six months after the tenant reported a problem, the new law might automatically deem the rent increase or renewal denial to be harassment.

This law may be flawed because the actions of the landlord may legitimately have nothing to do with anything the tenant did or did not do. It is reasonable that a landlord was planning a rent increase even before a concern was raised by the tenant. 



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