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Legal Resources for the Public on the COVID-19/Coronavirus Pandemic

If you are a renter, there has been confusion about what happens if you can't pay rent. Evictions have resumed in Louisiana for some renters; however, there are special additional federal protections for renters living in property that is rented through Section 8 or backed by certain federal mortgage programs - it can be confusing, however, to know whether your rental property qualifies. If it does, the eviction process cannot begin until July 25th under the federal CARES Act. A judicial benchcard (a document that helps Louisiana judges understand the law) for the CARES Act explains the eviction moratorium in further detail.

Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) has a tenant's rights explainer, including a flowchart that shows whether you can be evicted or not. SLLS also prepared a sample script on how to talk to your landlord if you can't pay rent during this crisis. If you live in a hotel or motel, the situation is a little more complicated but SLLS has an explainer on that as well.

If you own your home but are behind on loan payments and fear foreclosure, SLLS also has provided information on what to do in that situation. Your rights may depend on whether your mortgage loan is federally-backed or not.

The Louisiana Public Service Commission has issued an order prohibiting utility companies from disconnecting service due to non-payment indefinitely. Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission has asked telephone and internet providers to pledge to not disconnect their customers during this crisis. However, neither of these actions suspends your obligation to pay your utility bills. If you do not pay your bills, once the order is lifted, it is possible your service may be disconnected. Speak to your utility company soon if you are unable to pay.

Get More Help

If you are low-income and need legal representation related to a COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic issue, Acadiana Legal Service Corporation and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services provide free legal assistance to those that qualify. Please do not visit legal service providers in person during this time. Due to the virus, all organizations are encouraging people to contact them over the telephone, or by applying for services online.

If you are looking for general legal resources (not specifically about the pandemic) for self-represented litigants and people in court without an attorney, including referrals to free and low-cost legal representation, please check out the Law Library's online guide.

The Law Library hopes you are staying safe and if you need further assistance, don't hesitate to call us at 504-310-2400 or email us at library@lasc.org. Though we are not physically in the library, we are still answering reference questions via phone and email quickly!