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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans

The Tulane Hullabaloo

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Healthy Homes program grants students better housing

As the Healthy Homes Program goes into effect, housing in New Orleans will be held to a higher standard. (Nathan Rich)

New Orleans homes will now be held to a higher standard as the Healthy Homes program begins.

The program is a continuation of the Healthy Homes ordinance, passed in November 2022, which created measures to ensure safe and healthy living environments for residents.

The Healthy Homes program certificate ensures landlords will uphold standards of cleanliness and habitability within their units. 

Upon arrival at her new off-campus housing in June 2022, Tulane University senior Sarah Herbsper found that the apartment had not been properly cleaned. Herbsper said that some appliances were broken and there were termite droppings in the kitchen. 

“The property manager told us to write them a list of everything that needed to be fixed,” Herbsper said. “We hired someone to come and fully deep clean the apartment because it was absolutely disgusting.”

The program allows landlords to apply for financial assistance to make repairs and helps tenants living in units that fail inspections to move to more habitable apartments.

Daiquiri Jones, a native New Orleanian, started as a volunteer at Jane Place Neighborhood Sustainability Initiative, but now serves as the organizing and community engagement leader.

“This has definitely been a problem in New Orleans for a long time,” Jones said. “It was a heightened situation, especially after Hurricane Ida. We began to see a gross number of habitability issues spreading and becoming more intense.” 

JPNSI is one of several local organizations that joined the Healthy Homes Coalition to pass the Healthy Homes ordinance in order to solve long-standing habitability problems in New Orleans. 

Tenants can file complaints through the city’s Department of Code Enforcement by calling 311, or online at nola 311.org, and the department will be responsible for taking action against noncompliant landlords. 

Junior Alli Carr began renting an Uptown apartment in January, but when she and her roommates moved in, they discovered a plethora of issues. 

Jones said that students are one of the most vulnerable groups of tenants and often get taken advantage of by landlords. 

 

“There was a gas leak from the dryer, and the refrigerator and freezer didn’t work,” Carr said. “It was a disaster.”

Carr began to suspect that the apartment had not been cleaned after the previous tenants moved out. 

“There were dead cockroaches on the ground and it was really dirty,” Carr said.

  

In 2024, landlords with parcels — or specific pieces of land — with more than 50 units have until Feb. 15 to obtain their first annual certificate of compliance from the city. 

Applications for landlords with land that has between four and 49 units will be released on July 1. For landlords with land that contains less than four units, applications will not roll out until next year. Landlords who fail to complete the certificate before the deadline can be fined up to $250.

“It’s really going to be a priority for students to make sure that they educate themselves on these issues,” Jones said.

Until applications for landlords with parcels containing one to three units roll out next year, many landlords leasing spaces to students in Uptown will not be required to receive the Healthy Homes certificates. 

“Those oaths haven’t been made yet for smaller units,” Jones said,” “so the burden of reporting is on the students.”

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