Within New Orleans housing for rent has taken on a sinister twist. The criminal background check process is being used indiscriminately towards black renters by landlords and housing providers. A recent report by The Fair Housing Action Center in New Orleans saw disparity between it’s black and white potential renters. All renters with identical histories (career paths, income levels, families and backgrounds). As a result of the “mystery shop” the New Orleans Housing for rent New Orleans housing for rent market engaged whites with preferential treatment. Consequently  granting them a waiver over normal background check policy and fees. One Afro American renter advised by an agent they were unsure of policy. As a result the renter would lose his criminal background check fee. The same agent advised the potential white tenant differently. Confirming the background check would probably not highlight a misdemeanor. Furthermore that “she” would do her level best to encourage the application.

A two month period in the Summer saw fifty people (posing as renters) inquire about available housing. These inquiries in Jefferson and Orleans parishes. The inquiry was to determine criminal background check policy and available housing. Half of the inquiries saw black renters met with discrimination. The New Orleans housing for rent mystery shop was revealing but perhaps predictable. The shop determined whether, because of ethnicity, potential renters (with criminal backgrounds/records) would be treated equally and fairly.

New Orleans Housing for rent a morass of discrimination

The report around the New Orleans housing for rent disparity recommends many reforms (Jefferson Parish and New Orleans). Included but not restricted to ensuring the criminal background so the check process is fair, accurate and applied equally. Housing providers and landlords provide written confirmation and reasons why an application is declined. The housing providers to supply applicants with their background check policy. Moreover to provide the report used in conjunction with their decision and denial.

Property costs in New Orleans have steadily climbed to 50% from just prior to Hurricane Katrina. The real estate fraternity forecast prices to continue to rise in the midst of dwindling housing stock. A previous investigation last year (New Orleans housing for rent) was carried out by The Fair Housing Action Center.  Over a 4 month period racial discrimination was confirmed in some of New Orleans more affluent neighborhoods. Areas including East Carrollton and Lakeview. Other popular areas and ZIP code rental searches are New Orleans 70131 and New Orleans 70119, Trulia and Orleans Parish. A report in August 2009 by The Fair Housing Action Center threw a spotlight on Section 8  rental discrimination.

Fair Housing Action Center confirms rental discrimination

In addition the report by the Fair Housing Action Center gave policy makers numerous recommendations. These initiatives include incentivizing affordable housing and improving the number of good quality property for rent. This to include houses and apartments for rent by owner/landlord and agent. The Human Relations Commission (discrimination complaints) to have more funding. The imposition of more tougher and stringent penalties against landlords, and others, who violate New Orleans fair housing laws.

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center (GNOFHAC) is a private, non-profit civil rights organization. Established in 1995 to bring to an end housing discrimination within the greater New Orleans area. An end to discrimination through education, investigation, and enforcement activities. GNOFHAC dedicates itself to the fight against housing discrimination. Not only because it is illegal, but also because it is a divisive force. In conclusion housing discrimination perpetuates poverty, segregation, ignorance, fear, and hatred.
NOLA Houses For Rent