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What LAVAWA Means for You

Posted on 30. Jun, 2015 by


The Louisiana Violence Against Women Act, or Senate Bill 174, will become law on August 1st, 2015. This bill was created through collaboration among housing advocates, domestic violence service providers and housing providers who believe that survivors should never have to choose between safety from abuse and a safe place to live. We look forward to continuing our partnerships in order to ensure that these protections are properly implemented.

Here are the four key provisions of the law:

1) Anyone in need of emergency assistance can contact police without penalty.

Why it’s important:  Lease agreements often mention that a single police visit is grounds for eviction.  No one should hesitate to call emergency assistance when they need it.

2) Survivors can no longer be evicted because of the violence of their abuser.

Why it’s important:  Surveys of women living in domestic violence shelters found that 1 in 3 survivors were in the shelter because they lost their housing due to the violence of an abuser. In Orleans and Jefferson parishes, that number was above 50%.

3) Survivors can no longer be denied housing solely on the basis of past abuse.

Why it’s important:  Survivors report that when a domestic violence shelter is the last known address, they have trouble securing housing.

4) Survivors can now terminate a lease early and move if they need to.

Why it’s important:  Survivors seeking to flee an abuser can leave when they need to, without forfeiting a deposit or otherwise being penalized for a move necessary to ensure their safety.

These protections apply to buildings with six or more units. Importantly, “eviction” is defined as a notice to vacate, non-renewal of a month-to-month lease, or court eviction. This is extremely important, because the protections kick in before a domestic violence victim is actually evicted after a court procedure. In Louisiana, most “evictions” are informal and never go through the courts. Therefore, survivors will be protected from eviction in all its forms.

Are you a tenant?

If abuse occurs in your home, or if you have trouble finding, keeping, or leaving your apartment because of abuse, you should contact the Fair Housing Center or a domestic violence service provider (like a shelter) immediately. If you have questions about this process or believe you have been treated unfairly due to abuse, please call the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center at (504) 596-2100.

Are you a housing provider?

There are several important steps you can do right away to help ensure that you follow the law. Firstly, review your lease agreements to ensure that they are in compliance with the law and don’t contain any language that would discourage a tenant from calling emergency services when needed. Next, review your leasing criteria and procedure to make sure that applicants who list domestic violence shelters as a previous residence do not have that information held against them. Also review your criteria and procedures for eviction. Finally, educate yourself and any staff about this law. GNOFHAC would be happy to conduct training for your leasing agents, managers and other staff. We would also be happy to provide you with materials to share with tenants and/or post in your lobby. If you would like an educational training on the new law, please call the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center at (504) 596-2100 or contact Renee Corrigan at

Are you a domestic violence service provider?

You play a very important role in making sure that this information reaches survivors when they need it most! We are available to train your staff so that they can best assist and advise their clients.  We can also provide materials that you can post in your offices and distribute to clients as needed. If you would like a free educational training for your staff, please call the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center at (504) 596-2100 or contact Renee Corrigan at

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