NEW ORLEANS — It's the first of the month, and many people worry they won't have the funds to make their rent and mortgage payments due to lost jobs and income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
There is some relief for bills due under Louisiana's Stay-at-home order.
In New Orleans, the city's Department of Housing and Community Development says evictions are not allowed in Orleans Parish until at least May.
This means landlords cannot evict, threaten or harass tenants for rent payment in that time. If a landlord threatens to call the police, the New Orleans Police Department will not put anyone of their homes.
In the entire state of Louisiana, evicting a tenant is illegal until at least April 13, because courts are closed to non-emergency action until then.
Tenants are still obligated to pay their rent as soon as possible, and homeowners are obligated to pay their mortgages.
Here are a few things to consider when discussing payment with your landlord:
- Ask to consider a plan that would allow you to pay in parts. That way, you won't fall so behind.
- Ask to waive late fees. Those fees may appear small initially, but they do add up.
- Most mortgage lenders qualify for a forbearance during this time. Ask your landlord to consider not charging rent for those months if they receive forbearance from their lender.
The New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board has also suspended water shutoffs as long as Mayor LaToya Cantrell's emergency declaration is in effect. They've also said they will restore service to anyone who may have been shutoff before the order was declared.
Entergy New Orleans has vowed to leave customers connected as well.
Cable companies are also working with customers, on payment assistance. You should contact your provider for details.
Guidance is available through Southeast Louisiana Legal Services. They'll help you understand your rights and what to do during this time, according to your paperwork. Their hotline is 1-844-244-7871.