City to renters: Your landlord can't force you out, even for storm damage

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The city of New Orleans is telling renters that their landlords cannot evict them without a court order, even if there's hurricane damage to their apartment -- and the earliest any judge can issue an eviction is Friday, September 24.

This could put some tenants in an unsafe situation, and some landlords in legal jeopardy, if there truly is storm damage that makes a property dangerous.

"The landlord's really in a no-win situation," said lawyer Doug Sunseri, host of "All Things Legal" on WWL, "because if they stay there, because the building's unsafe and they get hurt, I suspect they will sue the landlord."

But landlords have no choice but to assume that risk.

"You cannot evict someone involuntarily without a court order. Any time," Sunseri said. "They can ask them to leave, but if they say no, the only mechanism to get them out is to get a court order ordering the tenant to get out."

Sunseri say many renters simply have no where else to go, so if a building is uninhabitable and the tenant insists on staying, the only thing that can change that is if the city condemns the property, or a judge issues an eviction order.