January 19, 2022
The Louisiana Bar Foundation and Lagniappe Law Lab are 2022 recipients of the American Bar Endowment Opportunity Grant. With these funds, Lagniappe Law Lab will design, develop, and launch Good Repair, a new digital service for Louisiana renters experiencing habitability problems, which are especially common after disasters.
With Good Repair, tenants can use the web application to learn about the Louisiana repair and deduct process, and access a suite of tools that empower them to communicate their needs to their landlord.
Tenants will be supported with a legally-compliant initial landlord notification that can be sent to the landlord, notifying them that if issues are not addressed, the tenant will use the repair and deduct procedure. Where appropriate, users will also receive a list of other options they have, such as reporting code violations to authorities.
The service will follow up with the tenant to see if the landlord made repairs after the initial demand. If not, users will have the option to upload photos of damage and repair quotes that support a their demand letter for reimbursement, and notice that the tenant intends to withhold rent if not paid.
Importantly, the service will include critical information and disclaimers, ensuring the tenant is making a fully informed decision that’s appropriate for their situation.
The Good Repair service will help educate people on the proper procedure and give them the tools they need to stay compliant with the law, making them their own best advocate when they have no other option. It will also serve as an upstream intervention to help avoid evictions related to this problem by: (1) ensuring tenants follow the proper legal procedure, and (2) creating a body of evidence that can be used in the event of an improper eviction. Finally, having this service available before a disaster strikes will make for a more stable and resilient community.
Stay tuned for announcements about the project’s completion, which is set for July 2022.
Lagniappe Law Lab is a proud grantee of the Louisiana Bar Foundation.