House passes bill that would allow rental applicants to explain if their evictions were caused by disasters


    Rep. Royce Duplessis’s (D-New Orleans) HB 374, which allows rental applicants to provide the context surrounding their COVID-19-era evictions and prevents landlords from charging for an application fee unless they tell applicants their screening criteria, process and amount, passed in the Louisiana House of Representatives by a vote of 87-10. 

    Duplessis said to the House his bill would “provide some small level of protection for renters who’ve been impacted by disasters such as COVID and other natural disasters in Louisiana.”

    The bill would allow previously evicted residents to include a personal statement with their credit report “indicating that the consumer has been financially impacted by a declared disaster or emergency.”

    The bill was amended to include the renter’s personal statement directly onto their rental application. Previously, the bill had the renter send their personal statement to a crediting agency, but Duplessis told a reporter after Monday’s floor vote that the additional step was “too much rigamarole.”

    Rep. Denise Marcelle (D-Baton Rouge) said on the House floor that the bill will help Louisiana residents, especially since “so many people have lost their jobs and their homes” because of the pandemic.

    People who got kicked out of their homes because they lost employment and couldn’t afford to keep it during the pandemic, Marcelle said, that should not be a reason to not rent to them.

    The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.