The CDC Eviction Ban Expires on July 31. What Happens Now?Posted on: July 29, 2021
The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.
The federal order banning evictions for nonpayment of rent expires July 31, 2021. We do not expect another extension and there are no local protections in Louisiana. We know this is stressful for tenants. Here are some things you can do if you are worried about eviction after the moratorium ends:
- Apply for rental assistance if you have not already. Emergency rental assistance programs are operating for all the state and may pay up to 12 months of back rent, plus 1-3 months forward. Find your local rental assistance program here (note: Orleans, Jefferson, EBR, Lafayette, St. Tammany, Caddo, and Calcasieu have their own programs).
- If you get an eviction notice, you may qualify for free legal assistance.
- If you receive an eviction notice and you are in the New Orleans area, contact Southeast Louisiana Legal Services at (504) 529-1000 x.223 or come to our office during walk-in hours, Monday, Wednesday or Friday between 9 and 3. Our office is at 1340 Poydras St. Suite 600, and there is free 1 hour parking to the right of the building (but you need to sign in at the security desk). Masks are required and you will not be served if you are not properly wearing a mask.
- If you live outside the New Orleans area and have an eviction notice, you can contact the legal services office in your area. For Southeastern Louisiana find your local office here. For Western and North Louisiana find your local office here. If you live outside of Louisiana you can find your free legal aid office here.
- Try to negotiate a payment plan with your landlord, and put the payment plan in writing. If it is in writing, it may be enforceable in court.
What if I do not feel safe coming to court for my eviction because of COVID-19?
We know that people have concerns about increases in Covid. You have a right to attend your court hearing by computer or smartphone, or other accommodations, if you are a person for whom Covid poses a special risk, such as people with diabetes, heart conditions, etc. If you are denied the right to a remote/virtual hearing, or other requested accommodations, please contact legal services immediately.
In addition, if you have COVID-19 symptoms or exposure, you should not go to court because you will risk infecting others. You can request a continuance (postponement) or to attend your hearing by computer or smartphone. You may be able to get free legal aid to assist you with this (see above).
Please note that if you do not show up to your court hearing and do not notify the court that you need an accommodation you will receive a default judgment of eviction, and you will have only 24 hours to move. So you must contact the court (or get your lawyer to contact the court) before the hearing if you are unable to attend for health reasons. You may be able to get free legal aid to assist you with this (see above).
What about when I apply for a new apartment?
If you have rent debt or an eviction on your record due to COVID-19, there is a new law that may help you. House Bill 374 was signed into law as Louisiana Revised Statute 9:3258.1 effective August 1. Under this new law:
- Before a landlord can charge you an application fee, they have to notify you of whether they screen for credit scores, employment history, criminal history, or eviction records.
- They also have to notify you that you have a right to submit a financial hardship statement if you have an eviction record or debt on your credit report because of COVID-19, or another declared disaster.
You also have a right to contest inaccurate information on your credit report. Here is information about your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You can also contact your local legal aid agency for assistance. Southeast Louisiana Legal Services’ COVID-19 hotline is at 844-244-7871.
What if I get sued for the back rent I owe?
If you get sued for back rent, you may qualify for free legal assistance. You can contact Southeast Louisiana Legal Services’ COVID-19 hotline at 844-244-7871, or find your local legal aid provider here.
Check out the US Interagency Council on Homelessness’s guide for people facing eviction here.