When It’s Time To Evict

Rental property is a challenge. Selecting tenants and dealing with the results of not making the right choice can be costly. Louisiana has special requirements for evictions that can make the process unique. To ensure a timely eviction and minimize the risk of a lawsuit, it is essential to comply with Louisiana’s statutory rules. Louisiana does not allow self-help evictions; you must go through the courts. The Justice of the Peace courts will have jurisdiction over residential and some commercial evictions. You can make the process easier on yourself through careful wording of your lease. If you fail to do so, however, there are several steps that must be followed to successfully evict a tenant that also safeguard you.

In eviction, the first step is to prepare and deliver a “Notice to Vacate Premises” to the tenant. A “Notice to Vacate Premises” does not give a specific date by which the tenant should vacate; instead, the notice should inform the tenant they have five days from delivery of the notice to vacate, excluding weekends or holidays. The notice should contain the following information:

– the posting or mailing date of the notice
– tenant’s name and physical address
– reason for the eviction
– your signature and signature of the witness

It is best to hand deliver the notice to the tenant in front of a witness. If you are unable to hand deliver, post it on the door or mail it to the tenant via certified mail with return service requested. Keep a signed copy of the notice for yourself, and make sure your witness is with you when you attempt delivery. Remember – the person who delivered the notice is responsible for proving delivery.

If the tenant does not vacate within five days of the posting or receipt of the notice, you may file a “Rule to Evict.” The “Rule to Evict” must be filed in person or be sent via certified mail and include a copy of the signed notice to vacate. The court costs for Baton Rouge City Court ($121.00 for one tenant and $10.00 per additional tenant) are required in advance of any filing. Justice of the Peace courts and other venues have their own fee structure.
After the Rule to Evict is filed, the court will serve notice on the tenant, informing them you are suing to evict and giving them a court date if they wish to contest. The court date will be set when filing or mailed. If the morning of the court hearing arrives and the tenant or their possessions remain in the premises, you must appear before the judge at Baton Rouge City Court. If you handed or posted a “Notice to Vacate,” the witness must be available that day to confirm delivery.

Louisiana allows for a slight simplification of the process by getting the tenant to waive the requirement of the five-day notice. This must be in writing and in the lease document. If you are evicting a tenant under LA C.C.P. Art. 4701 and 4731, which authorizes waiver of the “Notice to Vacate,” bring a copy of the lease with you and highlight the waiver provision.
The tenant will have 24 hours to vacate or appeal after the judgment is granted. If they have not vacated after 24 hours, the Constable’s office can arrange to have a sheriff or constable oversee the eviction. Most courts require the landlord to have at least two people to move the actual property from the premises. Although law enforcement will oversee the eviction, they do not move the property from the rental. 
May we help you with a legal situation? To schedule a private consultation, call the Gouner Law Office at 225-293-6200 or toll free 800-404-1921You can also fill out our contact form.

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