Hopefully the worst of the summer’s heat is behind us so that we can look forward to enjoying fall activities and cooler temperatures. Renters and owners of rental properties in New Orleans can also look forward to changes in the law, and, in between football games and bowls of gumbo, it is very important that owners of rental properties take notice of the changes and take time this fall to start preparing for their implementation.
New Orleans has recently joined more than forty states by passing minimum standards for rental properties, and the “Healthy Homes” program, as passed by the City Council in November of 2022, includes minimum standards for regulating temperature in rental properties.
This is especially important for owners of rental properties in New Orleans because, based on data collected from New Orleans International Airport (“MSY”) by the National Weather Service, July 2023 tied with July 2016 as the warmest July in New Orleans on record. The average temperature for both months was 86.7 degrees Fahrenheit. The highest temperature recorded at MSY during July 2023 was 101 degrees Fahrenheit on July 31, 2023, and this is the highest temperature ever recorded in July in New Orleans. July 2023 was also the sixth driest July on record with only 3.31 inches of rain recorded. The average rainfall for New Orleans in July is 6.79 inches.
On August 8, 2023, LaToya Cantrell issued an emergency declaration related to the ongoing heat wave and the threats it poses to New Orleans residents, citing the drastic increases in the number of heat-related emergencies the City has responded to as well as the threat posed by fires and hurricanes. The City has also established cooling centers and hydration stations to help residents avoid the worst effects of the extreme heat.
These are not the only actions that New Orleans has taken to protect residents from the effects of extreme temperatures. It is already the law that all rental units in New Orleans must have the capability to heat each habitable room to at least 68 degrees, but, starting on January 1, 2024, all rental units must have sufficient air conditioning to cool every bedroom down to at most 80 degrees.
If the summer of 2023 is any indication, extreme temperatures are going to be an ongoing concern, and landlords and other property owners need to make sure that they comply with all applicable requirements.
Also, starting in January of 2024, landlords must register their rental properties with the City of New Orleans and, as part of the registration process, landlords must swear or affirm, under penalty of perjury, that their rental properties are fit to live in and are in compliance with the City’s codes, including those related to temperature.
If you need assistance related to these or other property issues, including issues related to making sure that your properties are in compliance with the City’s requirements, Gordon Arata attorneys are prepared to provide assistance with those matters.
Contact Gerald “Jess” Waltman III at (504) 582-1111 for assistance or with any questions. You may also reach Jess by email at email@example.com.