BATON ROUGE, La. (WGNO) — A bill at the Louisiana state legislature would allow renters to break their leases if they live in violent crime areas. Opponents say it would give people an excuse to bolt on their landlords if they’re behind on rent.
Johnathan Baudoin says he’d like to see that bill passed. He’s a resident of the Bywater, a place he chose to live for its charm and New Orleans neighborhood feel.
“My roommate and I used to love walking down the street, walking to bars, walking to restaurants,” said Baudoin.
But, after six months he says he can’t take it anymore.
“A resident got mugged outside, recently they had two muggings nearby at the bar close to the apartment building, and there were also 11 to 15 car break-ins since then,” Baudoin explained.
House Bill 606 would allow Baudoin to get out of his lease if two or more violent crimes happen within a one-tenth-mile radius of his apartment.
Lawmakers took up the bill in committee on Monday, some fear people would take advantage of it.
“One of my concerns would be would this be an avenue to let someone else out of a lease because they’re behind in their rent, could they use this is there a mechanism in the bill that would allow them to get out of their lease prematurely or for the wrong reasons?” Questioned Rep. Jonathan Goudeau.
“If we need to put some type of provision that — another cause that you can’t be more than three months behind in rent or if eviction proceedings haven’t been held, I’m always willing to do that if that’s the case,” said Rep. Edmond Jordan.
Baudoin says regardless, he’s moving out as soon as possible.
“We are still going forward and putting our foot down,” he said.
Rep. Jordan says he’ll work on the language of the bill to satisfy the concerns of other lawmakers and hopes to have it back in front of the committee as early as tomorrow.