LEGAL CORNER: I received a five-day notice to move out - Am I reading this wrong?

KPLC 7News at Noon - Jan. 8, 2020 - Pt. II - clipped version

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -Submit your questions to news@kplctv.com. Civil matters only, please.

Question 1: I received a five-day notice to move out of my place. There is no way I can pack everything and move in five days, am I reading this wrong?

Answer: The articles in Title XI dealing with evictions are:

Art. 4701. Termination of lease; notice to vacate; waiver of notice

When a lessee's right of occupancy has ceased because of the termination of the lease by expiration of its term, action by the lessor, nonpayment of rent, or for any other reason, and the lessor wishes to obtain possession of the premises, the lessor or his agent shall cause written notice to vacate the premises to be delivered to the lessee. The notice shall allow the lessee not less than five days from the date of its delivery to vacate the leased premises.

If the lease has no definite term, the notice required by law for its termination shall be considered as a notice to vacate under this Article. If the lease has a definite term, notice to vacate may be given not more than thirty days before the expiration of the term.

A lessee may waive the notice requirements of this Article by written waiver contained in the lease, in which case, upon termination of the lessee's right of occupancy for any reason, the lessor or his agent may immediately institute eviction proceedings in accordance with Chapter 2 of Title XI of the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure.

Art. 4731. Rule to show cause why possession should not be delivered; abandonment of premises

A. If the lessee or occupant fails to comply with the notice to vacate required under this Title, or if the lessee has waived his right to notice to vacate by written waiver contained in the lease, and has lost his right of occupancy for any reason, the lessor or owner, or agent thereof, may cause the lessee or occupant to be cited summarily by a court of competent jurisdiction to show cause why he should not be ordered to deliver possession of the premises to the lessor or owner. The rule to show cause shall state the grounds upon which eviction is sought.

B. After the required notice has been given, the lessor or owner, or agent thereof, may lawfully take possession of the premises without further judicial process, upon a reasonable belief that the lessee or occupant has abandoned the premises. Indicia of abandonment include a cessation of business activity or residential occupancy, returning keys to the premises, and removal of equipment, furnishings, or other movables from the premises.

Amended by Acts 1981, No. 713, §1; Acts 1991, No. 684, §1.

Art. 4732. Trial of rule; judgment of eviction

A. The court shall make the rule returnable not earlier than the third day after service thereof, at which time the court shall try the rule and hear any defense which is made.

B. If the court finds the lessor or owner entitled to the relief sought, or if the lessee or occupant fails to answer or to appear at the trial, the court shall render immediately a judgment of eviction ordering the lessee or occupant to deliver possession of the premises to the lessor or owner. The judgment of eviction shall be effective for not less than ninety days.

Art. 4733. Warrant for possession if judgment of eviction not complied with

If the lessee or occupant does not comply with the judgment of eviction within twenty-four hours after its rendition, the court shall issue immediately a warrant directed to and commanding its sheriff, constable, or marshal to deliver possession of the premises to the lessor or owner.

In summary, you do not have to move out in 5 days; after the 5 days has lapsed, the lessor can file an eviction proceeding with the court, which can be no sooner than 3 days after you have been served. After the conclusion of the eviction hearing (Rule to Show Cause), if the court orders an eviction, you have 24 hours to vacate.

Question 2: I have heard about a “conservation order” for hunting geese where the limits and the shooting times are suspended – is this after the regular duck and goose season? Is it statewide?

Answer: There is a “conservation order” and some of the limits and laws are lifted. However, it only applies to certain species and the hunting zones are different than duck hunting zones. According to the Wildlife and Fisheries website:

Only snow, blue and Ross’s geese may be taken under the terms of the Conservation Order, which allows the use of electronic calls and unplugged shotguns and eliminates the daily bag and possession limits.

During the Conservation Order, shooting hours begins one-half hour before sunrise and extends until one-half hour after sunset.

You can visit the LDWF website at: www.wlf.louisiana.gov if you want to see which zone you are in, and more details of a conservation hunt.

Question 3: A house is being constructed on a lot next to mine, and they are moving in a lot of dirt. At first I thought it was just to pour a slab, but it appears they are trying to build up their property. If this alters the drainage of the neighborhood, is there anything I can do?

Answer: Articles 655 and 656 of the Louisiana Civil Code are on point.

655: “An estate situated below is bound to receive the surface waters that flow naturally from an estate situated above unless an act of man has created the flow.”

656: “The owner of the servient estate may not do anything to prevent the flow of the water. The owner of the dominant estate may not do anything to render the servitude more burdensome.”

Put another way, a landowner, over whose land natural drainage occurs has to live with it. Water from the high ground drains onto low ground, the owner of the low ground cannot challenge, divert or disrupt the drainage.

However, since the law is clear that natural drainage cannot be tampered with, it is implied that unnatural, or man-made (such as when soil is brought in to build up the land, as in the viewer’s case), drainage does not have to be accepted by the neighboring landowner.

That is the law – as a practical matter, what should the viewer do about it? Communicate with the other property owner – in such a way as can be proven; written or otherwise – and depending on the neighbor’s response, go from there.

Disclaimer: The information furnished in this answer is general and may not apply to some situations. All legal situations are unique. No one should rely to their detriment on these answers. Anyone with a potential legal problem should seek the advice of a licensed attorney before taking any action or inaction. The answers provided are not intended to be specific legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is created between the SWLA Law Center and the viewers of KPLC-TV.

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