LOUISIANA, USA — If you’re one of the half a million renters in Louisiana, what can you do if your air conditioning goes out in all this heat.
Both say there is currently no legal requirement in Louisiana for rental units to be air-conditioned or kept below a certain temperature.
In the Orleans Parish Minimum Property Maintenance code, you’ll find a minimum temperature for heating, but nothing for cooling.
There are some options if you find your place heating up.
First, it is not legal to withhold rent. You could be evicted for nonpayment.
But one legal avenue is to use Louisiana’s Repair and Deduct law. You must give your landlord notice that repairs are needed. SLLS says a text is enough to prove written notice.
If your landlord doesn’t make the repairs in a reasonable amount of time, you can make the repairs yourself, or hire someone to repair it, then deduct the cost from next month’s rent.
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services recommends you contact one of their attorneys first to make sure you follow the process correctly.
Another legal way out, if your home is not habitable, is to try to get out of your lease early, although your landlord may sue.
There is change on the horizon though for 75-thousand Orleans Parish renters. Starting July 1, the Healthy Homes Program made it illegal for landlords to retaliate against renters who ask for repairs.
And starting in January, rentals must meet new minimum standards. For the first time, this will include an air conditioning unit that can cool every bedroom down to at least 80 degrees.
So, while the Healthy Homes Ordinance doesn’t help much now, next summer should be a bit cooler for Orleans Parish renters struggling in this heat.
If you’re facing eviction in New Orleans for any reason, you have a Right to Counsel for free, per city ordinance. You can contact Southeast Louisiana Legal Services.